Antilia scare: Former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, 2 others remanded till June 28

In a major development, the National Investigation Agency Agency (NIA) on Thursday arrested former encounter specialist and Shiv Sena leader Pradeep Sharma in connection with the case of an explosives-laden SUV found near industrialist’s Mukesh Ambani residence and the death of businessman Mansukh Hiren.

A Special NIA court on Thursday sent former “encounter specialist” police officer Pradeep Sharma and two others to NIA custody till June 18, in connection with the ‘Antilia’ bomb scare case and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran. The probe agency told the court that it has found “strong evidences” against Sharma and the duo. NIA had arrested Sharma from Lonavla near Mumbai late on Wednesday night, after which he was brought to the central agency’s office in south Mumbai for questioning. Around two months ago, the NIA had questioned Sharma at its office for two days after his name cropped up in the case. Sharma is the fifth person from the police department to be arrested in the case by the NIA. This is the eighth over arrest in the case. The NIA, on June 11, arrested two more persons in the twin case, Santosh Shelar and Anand Jadhav, both residents of Kurar village in Malad and both said to be close to Sharma, according to Mumbai Police. The search at Sharma’s residence comes a day after the agency moved a plea before a special NIA court in Mumbai for permission to extend the custody of Mumbai police inspector Sunil Mane, who was arrested on April 23 for his involvement in the case.