'Antilia' bomb scare: Accused Soni recorded confessional statement before magistrate, NIA tells court

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Mumbai, Jul 5 (PTI) The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Monday told the special court that Manish Soni, arrested in connection with the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV from outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani and the subsequent murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, has given a confessional statement before a magistrate.

However, the magistrate 'inadvertently' remanded the accused to judicial custody, the court was told.

Soni was supposed to be produced before the special court on Monday.

'However, as Soni could not be produced till 5.30 pm, they (the NIA) applied to remand him to judicial custody as the accused had been produced before a magistrate for recording a statement under section 164 (confession statements) of CrPC. He was remanded to jail custody wrongly,' Soni's lawyer Rahul Arote said.

'This is illegal. We have put this on record before the court that they (NIA) have not produced him and hence cannot seek his (judicial) remand,' he added.

Earlier in the day, the NIA didn't produce Soni before the special court. The investigation agency instead told the court that the accused had been produced before a magistrate for recording a statement.

The NIA further said the magistrate, after recording Soni's statement, 'inadvertently', remanded him in judicial custody.

Soni and Satish Mothkuri were arrested on June 17, along with former 'encounter specialist' police officer Pradeep Sharma.

The duo was remanded to the NIA custody till July 5 by the special court.

The NIA produced Mothkuri before the special court on Friday and sought his custody, which the judge allowed.

The NIA had earlier told the court that Soni and Mothkuri had killed Hiran, who purportedly owned the explosives-laden SUV, and dumped his body with the help of the other accused.

Mumbai Police officers (now dismissed) Sachin Waze, Riyazuddin Kazi and Sunil Mane, former policeman Vinayak Shinde, and cricket bookie Naresh Gor, had been arrested by investigators. They all are currently in judicial custody.

The SUV was found abandoned near Ambani's south Mumbai residence 'Antilia' on February 25 this year. Hiran was found dead at a Mumbra creek in the Thane district on March 5. PTI AVI NSK NSK

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