THREE DAYS after a parked car with 20 gelatin sticks was found outside the South Mumbai home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, 10 crack teams of Mumbai Crime Branch deployed to find the culprits are yet to make a breakthrough in the case.
According to police, a message popped up on a Telegram channel purportedly of a group called ‘Jaish-Ul-Hind’, claiming responsibility for the threat. The channel was no longer available later in the day, police added.
Investigating agencies are verifying the message to find out if the claim is a red herring. Last month, the same group claimed responsibility for a minor blast outside the Israeli embassy in Delhi, said to have been caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).
Police said they were using technical intelligence to find out where the picture claiming responsibility for the attack outside the Israeli embassy was uploaded from.
It has also come to light that the Scorpio found with 20 gelatin sticks outside Antilia, the Ambani residence on Carmichael Road, may have been first taken to Thane after being stolen from Eastern Express Highway in Vikhroli on the night of February 17, police said.
Mumbai Police is investigating the vehicle theft and has found CCTV footage of it being driven towards Thane. Police, however, said they were unable to capture its progress beyond Mulund, a suburb en route to Thane, due to gaps in the CCTV camera network.
The identity of those who stole the vehicle was key to tracking down the perpetrators of the incident, police added.
An officer said investigating the theft of the Scorpio from Eastern Express Highway near Airoli bridge was proving to be a challenge as that area did not have CCTV cameras.
“Apart from that, the highway is poorly lit. So while you can see a vehicle going, it is difficult to get a sharp image of the person driving it. We, however, did track it up to the end of Mulund and believe the vehicle went to Thane. However, the CCTV network beyond Mumbai is not as dense and it was not possible to track the Scorpio beyond Mulund,” the officer said.
Police had earlier said the Scorpio was accompanied by a white Innova when it entered the city from Thane, and all the way up to Antilia. After parking the Scorpio where it was found, the driver climbed into the Innova, which was tracked on its exit path up to the Bhiwandi-Nashik road.
An officer said, “It seems like the work of professionals. Even the Scorpio driver used back exit of the car rather than stepping out from the driver’s seat. He was aware that CCTV cameras would capture his face.”
The Scorpio belonged to a Thane resident, who was driving it to Crawford Market when the steering wheel jammed, and he had to park it at Vikhroli near the Eastern Express Highway on February 17. He left in a cab, but when he returned to pick it up the next day, the vehicle was missing. He complained to police and an FIR was registered against unidentified persons at Vikhroli.
An FIR was registered at Gamdevi police station in connection with the threat letter and gelatin sticks found outside the Ambani residence. The investigation has been handed over to the Mumbai Crime Branch.
Police spokesperson Chaitanya S said, “Mumbai Police is investigating all angles.”