The mysterious death of Hiren Mansukh, a car parts dealer linked to an SUV filled with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai home last week, was raised in the Maharashtra assembly on Tuesday with opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis demanding the arrest of a Mumbai Police officer.
The former Chief Minister read out Mansukh's wife statement in the First Information Report which has the alleged sequence of events in the days leading up to his death.
Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze is currently serving in the Crime Intelligence Unit and was the investigative officer in the case of explosives being found in a Scorpio near Mukesh Ambani's south Mumbai home at the beginning of the probe, before he was replaced by another officer.
"Sachin Vaze should be punished. You are giving him the chance to destroy the evidence. And just because he (Vaze) entered a certain political party, he is being saved. How is he even taken in the force? He needs to be first suspended," Mr Fadnavis said.
Mansukh, 45, was found near a creek near Mumbai last Friday, according to a Thane police officer quoted by news agency ANI. He had been missing since Thursday night, according to his family The case was transferred to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
Mr Fadnavis pointed out that fays before his death, Mansukh had alleged that he was being harassed by police officials and journalists.
In his letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the state's Home Minister and the Mumbai police chief, the man had demanded legal action and police protection. In his letter written on March 2, he explained how the car was stolen and said that the police were harassing him.
Maharashtra Home Minister hit back at Mr Fadnavis, saying that during his time as Chief Minister, he did not investigate interior designer Anvay Naik's suicide case and that tried to suppress it.
"The statement by Hiren Mansukh's wife is now everywhere in media. So the ATS is investigating this case and if the opposition has more proof and evidence, then they should give it to the ATS. And as the Home Minster, I will tell you and assure that no one will be spared," Mr Deshmukh said.
The SUV was found abandoned around 1.4 km from Antilia, Mukesh Ambani's 27-storey home in south Mumbai, after midnight last Wednesday. A bomb disposal squad found 20 gelatin sticks - material used in explosives - hours later, besides a handwritten letter addressed to the Reliance chairman and Nita Ambani.
A day later, the police learnt that the SUV was stolen and said Mansukh lived in Vikhroli, another part of the city. The police had recorded his statement.
The car had some number plates and a Mumbai police spokesperson said the number plate of the SUV matched that of a car on Mukesh Ambani's security detail.
A man in a mask and a hoodie was seen in security footage parking the car, but he was not identified. The police also saw CCTV footage of the car moving through the city, followed by an Innova car that is also being investigated.
The gelatin was not military grade but of the commercial kind that is usually used in construction, digging or mining, police sources said.