The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday carried out searches at the residence of former Mumbai Police cop Pradeep Sharma in the Ambani bomb scare case and the murder case of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
A team of NIA reached the residence of Pradeep Sharma in Mumbai’s Andheri (east) area on Thursday morning and initiated a search operation. According to sources, Sharma was present inside his house when the officials were conducting searches.
Pradeep Sharma, known as an encounter specialist, was questioned twice earlier by NIA officials in connection with the case. He is known to be close to former Mumbai Police cop Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested by the central agency as the main conspirator in both cases.
Pradeep Sharma joined Mumbai Police as sub-inspector in 1983 and has been involved in over 300 encounters related to the Mumbai underworld, out of which, 113 shootouts are in his name.
He took voluntary retirement in 2019 and joined the Shiv Sena. He contested the Maharashtra Assembly elections from the Nala Sopara seat on a Shiv Sena ticket and lost.
After the arrest of Sachin Vaze and Vinayak Shinde in the Ambani car bomb scare case, the NIA was looking into the links between both accused and Pradeep Sharma. The friendship between Pradeep Sharma, Sachin Vaze, and constable Vinayak Shinde was known to many in the Mumbai Police force. Vaze and Sharma met for the first time at the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office and became good friends.
On Wednesday, the NIA had arrested two more persons in the case related to the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV from outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in February this year. The duo, Santosh Shelar and Anand Jadhav, were produced before a special court which remanded them to NIA police custody till June 21 for further investigation.
Shelar and Jadhav are also under the radar for their alleged role in the murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who purportedly owned the SUV found outside Ambani’s residence Antilia on February 25. Hiran’s body was found in a creek in Thane on March 5.
ANTILIA BOMB SCARE CASE
A suspicious SUV containing 20 gelatin sticks was found outside billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Antilia in Mumbai, back in February. The SUV, a Scorpio, was spotted near the famous Antilia on Peddar road.
The abandoned vehicle was spotted by the Ambanis’ security detail on Thursday evening and the local police were informed. The bomb squad was also called to the spot and after examining the vehicle, around 20 gelatin sticks were found inside it.
“20 gelatin sticks have been found inside the vehicle,” confirmed a senior Mumbai Police officer who had visited the spot. Issuing a statement, the Mumbai Police PRO confirmed that only gelatin sticks were found inside the car and not an assembled explosive device.