Mumbai/ New Delhi:
A money laundering case will be filed by the Enforcement Directorate amid an intensifying probe after a car – laden with explosives – was found abandoned last month outside Antilia, the Mumbai home of India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani. The probe, which has expanded into a multi-agency investigation, has also led to a political row in Maharashtra, plunging Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government into one of the biggest controversies it has faced.
The Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial frauds, has taken note of the first information report filed by the NIA (National Investigation Agency) in the bomb scare case. The probe agency has also sought details from Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), which had been initially investigating the case before central agencies took over.
The ED will also launch a money-laundering probe in the death case of a Thane businessman – Mansukh Hiran- linked to the bomb scare. It was his SUV that was stolen and then found abandoned outside Mukesh Ambani’s home. Days later, he was found dead in a creek.
Mr Hiran’s wife, after his death, had alleged the involvement of a Mumbai cop, Sachin Waze, who has now been suspended and is in NIA custody.
In bomb scare case, Explosives Act is a scheduled offence under PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002). In Mansukh Hiran death, IPC 302 (murder) is also a scheduled offence under PMLA, officials said.
Sources in Enforcement Directorate told NDTV “there are scheduled offences in both the FIRs, the agency will take cognisance of both the FIRs and register ECIRs to initiate money laundering probe.”
Last week, the Home Ministry had told NIA to take over the death case earlier being handled by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.
On Sunday, however, Maharashtra ATS chief said the death case had been “solved” with the arrest of Constable Vinayak Shinde, 55, and bookie Naresh Dhare, 31.
Last week, amid the probe, ex-Mumbai Police commissioner – replaced due to “unforgivable” lapses in Ambani security scare – wrote an explosive letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, accusing Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of corruption. Even as opposition demanded Mr Deshmukh’s resignation, the alliance dismissed questions of rift as leaders assured a fair probe.