Mukesh Ambani's family threatened: Exclusive details of police probe | What has happened so far

5 months ago 23

A day after an SUV carrying explosive material was apprehended outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's home Antilla in Mumbai, a police investigation into the matter has revealed that there were two vehicles involved.

On Thursday, Mumbai Police recovered 20 gelatin sticks from a Scorpio car parked outside Mukesh Ambani's home. Gelatin sticks are used to make explosives, among other things.

The police also found several number plates from inside the vehicle, some of them matching the number plates of vehicles used by the Ambani family's security team.

The Scorpio found outside Mukesh Ambani's home Antilla in Mumbai on Friday (Photo Credits: Sahil Joshi and Divyesh Singh/India Today)

A threatening letter addressed to Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani was also recovered from inside the Scorpio. The letter said the unassembled gelatin sticks and the SUV outside Antilla was just a "trailer".

According to the police investigation, two cars - an Innova (white colour) and a Scorpio (green colour) -- were involved. Both cars drove up to Mukesh Ambai's residence Antilla from Thane or a neighbouring area.

Tracing the two cars

CCTV analysis has revealed that the two vehicles drove towards Antilla separately, but from the same direction. The vehicles met up at a spot in Mumbai and then drove to Antilla together. Cameras at the Mulund toll post captured the green Scorpio heading towards Mumbai around 1.20 am. The white Innova was also seen crossing the Mulund toll post and travelling towards Mumbai.

The Scorpio was seen waiting at Priyadarshini Junction in Kurla as the Innova joined it at 1.40 am. They then proceeded towards Byculla. The vehicles turned right at Khada Parsi junction, proceeded towards Carmichael road and reached the spot outside Mukesh Ambani's home at 2.18 am.

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Once there, the person inside the Scorpio parked it outside Mukesh Ambani's house, climbed into the Innova and fled the spot. The Innova then returned towards Thane using the Eastern Express Highway. It was seen crossing the Mulund toll post at 3.05 am. In Thane, CCTVs couldn't capture the vehicle's movement due to low light.

Earlier, footage retrieved from CCTV cameras in the area revealed that the vehicles reached the spot around 1 am. But this was due to a timer error in the CCTV system.

How police got the info

Mumbai Police officials said they were informed about the suspicious Scorpio after receiving a call from the security manager of Antilla.

Acting on the call, a police team along with the bomb disposal squad and the canine squad were dispatched to Antilla to look into the matter. Once the teams reached the spot, the entire area around Antilla was cordoned off.

Security outside Mukesh Ambani's home Antilla in Mumbai on Friday (Photo Credits: PTI)

The Scorpio was removed from the spot by Thursday evening. By then, cops had recovered 20 gelatin sticks, some number plates and a threatening letter from the car.

An investigation was initiated and security in the area was beefed up.

Materials seized from Scorpio

As already discussed, when police officials searched the Scorpio, they found 20 gelatin sticks. This explosive material, was, however unassembled.

Besides this, the cops also found a bag of Mumbai Indians, eight to 10 number plates and a threatening letter addressed to Nita Ambani and Mukesh Ambani.

What did letter say

India Today TV has accessed the purported threatening letter recovered from the Scorpio parked outside Mukesh Ambani's house. The letter is printed and the language used is Hinglish with several spelling mistakes. Police say this is intentional to escape detection.

In the letter addressed to Nita Ambani and Mukesh Ambani, the accused have reportedly said that the abandoned Scorpio and 20 unassembled gelatin sticks is just a "trailer".

Warning that next time the gelatin sticks will be assembled, the letter adds that plans to attack the Ambani family are ready.

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Following is the unedited version of the letter recovered by cops from inside the Scorpio, accompanied by an English translation:

"Nita Bhabi aur Mkesh bhyya aur femi; Ek jalak he ye; Agli bar ye saaman pora konekt hoke aayega.
Orijinl gadi me ayega. Tum pora femili ko udane ke liye intajam ho gaya hai. Sambal jana. Gud nit"

(Sister-in-law Nita and brother Mukesh and family; This was trailer; Next time, the (explosive) material will be assembled. It will come in original vehicle. We have made preparations to kill your entire family in blast. Beware. Goodnight)."

Story behind the number plates

Mumbai Police said some of the number plates found the Scorpio matched with the number plates of security vehicles used in Nita Ambani's fleet. This, police said, indicates that the people behind the threat carried out a thorough recce of the area before making these number plates.

Scorpio was stolen

The Scorpio recovered from outside Antilla was stolen, Mumbai Police said. The registered owner of the vehicle claimed it had not been in use for over a year and that he had recently used it on four to five occasions because he wanted to sell it.

I was travelling towards Opera House from Thane but found the steering wheel of the Scorpio difficult to use which is when I parked it on the Mulund Airoli link road, claimed the owner. The owner says when he went back to the spot the next day, the car was missing.

The Scorpio found outside Mukesh Ambani's home Antilla in Mumbai on Friday (Photo Credits: Sahil Joshi and Divyesh Singh/India Today)

He then lodged a complaint of car theft at the Vikhroli police station. The local police tried to trace the vehicle but couldn't find it.

Investigators said whoever parked the car outside Mukesh Ambani's residence tried to rig the Scorpio's chassis number and most likely carried out some repairs. The police, however, managed to retrieve the chassis number which is how they were able to reach out to the vehicle's registered owner on Thursday night.

Explosives in Scorpio enough to blow up SUV

The 20 gelatin sticks found in the Scorpio are commercial grade and not military-grade explosives. Commercial grade gelatin sticks are generally used in construction work and at quarries. A senior police officer said if the 20 gelatin sticks were connected to a detonator and a timer, it could have been used to make an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

The officer said an IED formed in this manner could cause heavy damage and would be powerful enough to blow up an SUV, like the Scorpio in this case. He said the explosives could also kill occupants of the SUV.

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"Gelatin sticks weighing around 2.5 kg can cause heavy damage to an area of 3000 cubic feet i.e. around 200 square feet," he explained.

Mumbai Police investigation

The Mumbai Police has formed over 10 teams to investigate this high-profile case.

Officials involved in the probe said the accused in this case appear to be "very sharp-minded". They said the accused printed the threatening letter in Hinglish on purpose along with spelling mistakes so as to mislead investigators.

Police sources said the threatening letter was printed so to avoid being detection since a written document can be traced back to the owner with help from a handwriting expert.

— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) February 26, 2021

The Mumbai Police has roped in all its specialised investigating branches to crack this case. Sources said over 15 persons have been questioned and hundreds of CCTV cameras are being scanned. Help is also being sought from the Thane Police to trace the movement of the two vehicles used in the act.

Apart from this, mobile dump data of the location has also been sought and police have revitalised their human intelligence network to trace people involved in car thefts. Various garages and number plate makers are also being questioned to trace the accused.

Meanwhile, teams of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) are also employing their resources to help crack the case and probe a possible terror angle to it. It is learnt that officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have also spoken to Mumbai Police and are looking into the matter.

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