Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested former Mumbai Police constable Pradeep Sharma, who was connected to the Bomb Scare case of Antilia and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran. The arrest was made at the NIA office in Mumbai within three hours of NIA personnel searching Pradeep Sharma’s residence in the Andheri (east) area of Mumbai. The arrest of Sharma was based on statements of other accused mentioning his name and evidence in the form of technical data suggesting that he might have been involved in the terror case and murder case.
Pradeep Sharma, a specialist in encounters, was questioned twice previously by NIA officials in connection with the case. He is known to be close to former Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested by the central agency as the main conspirator in both cases. Pradeep Sharma joined Mumbai Police as a sub-inspector in 1983. He was involved in over 300 encounters involving the Mumbai underworld, of which 113 shootings are in his name. His voluntary retirement in 2019 led to his joining the Shiv Sena. On a Shiv Sena ticket, he stood in the Maharashtra Assembly elections from Nala Sopara.
The NIA investigated the links between Sachin Vaze and Vinayak Shinde, who were arrested in the Ambani car bomb scare case. A longstanding friendship existed between police officers Vinayak Shinde, Sachin Vaze, and Pradeep Sharma. They met for the first time at the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office and became friends. Two more individuals have been arrested by the NIA after an explosive-laden SUV was found outside the residence of Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani in February. Anand Jadhav and Santosh Shelar were produced before a special court, which remanded them to NIA police custody till June 21.
Additionally, Shelar and Jadhav are being investigated for their alleged role in the murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who had allegedly owned the SUV discovered outside Ambani’s residence Antilia on February 25. On March 5, Hiran’s body was found in a creek in Thane. In the course of his interrogation, Shelar has taken the names of two associates as well as Pradeep Sharma. The two associates are linked to the Lakhan Bhaiyya case. According to NIA sources, a larger conspiracy is being probed with the arrests that have been made in the recent cases.