NIA arrests ex-encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma in Antilia bomb scare case
New Delhi, June 17
In a major development in the Mukesh Ambani Antilla residence bomb scare case, National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma from Mumbai on Thursday.
The NIA stated that Sharma has been arrested based on statements and technical evidences against him. Sharma has been arrested in both cases of bomb scare and murder of businessman Mansukh Hiren.
The NIA team conducted searches at the residence of Pradeep Sharma in Mumbai’s Andheri (east) area subsequently after which he was arrested.
According to sources, Sharma was arrested on the basis of statements of other accused mentioning his name and evidence in form of technical data pointing towards his possible role in the terror and murder case.
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.
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.
A day earlier, NIA had arrested two more persons related to the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV from outside the Antilla in February . The duo identified as Santosh Shelar and Anand Jadhav, were produced before a special court which remanded them to NIA police custody till June 21 for further investigation.
The sources said that during his interrogation, Shelar has taken the name of two associates along with Pradeep Sharma. The two associates are linked to the Lakhan Bhaiyya case.
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.
The NIA suspects more names to be disclosed in the larger conspiracy of bomb scare case.