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Ambani bomb scare: Phone traced to Tihar jail seized

A mobile phone suspected to have been used for operating a Telegram channel to claim responsibility for a threat has been seized from Tihar Jail, after the Delhi Police’s Special Cell approached prison authorities in connection with the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare probe.

This comes a day after a senior Mumbai police official said on Thursday that a Telegram channel through which an organisation named Jaish-ul-Hind had claimed responsibility for placing an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Ambani’s residence in Mumbai last month was “created in the Tihar” area of Delhi.

The Delhi Police’s Special Cell had approached the Tihar Jail administration on Thursday after the new angle emerged, according to official sources.

“Tihar Jail authorities have seized a mobile phone which is suspected to have been used for operating Telegram channel used to claim responsibility for acts/ threats,” the Delhi Police said on Friday.

“Based on information provided by the Special Cell, Tihar Jail authorities have seized a mobile phone from a jail where certain convicts are lodged. It is suspected that this phone has been used for operating Telegram channels used recently for claiming responsibility for militant acts/ threats,” said Pramod Singh Kushwah, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell).

The officer said further investigation and forensic analysis will be done after the mobile handset and details of the seizure are received from Tihar Jail authorities.

Mumbai Police took the help of a private cyber agency to track the location of the phone on which the Telegram channel was created, the senior Mumbai Police official had said.

During the investigation, the location of the phone was traced near Delhi’s Tihar Jail, he added.

A Mahindra Scorpio SUV with gelatin sticks was found parked near “Antilia”, the multi-storey residence of Ambani, in south Mumbai on February 25.

According to police sources, the Telegram channel was created on February 26 and the message claiming responsibility for placing the vehicle outside Ambani’s residence was posted on the Telegram messaging app late in the night on February 27.

The message had also demanded payment in cryptocurrency and mentioned a link to deposit the same.

During the probe, the link was found as “not available”, due to which the investigators suspected it to be mischievous, the official said.

On February 28, another message from Jaish-ul-Hind surfaced on a social media platform, claiming that the organisation did not have any role in the incident.

The investigation in the case was initially conducted by the Crime Branch of the Mumbai police.

After the mysterious death of Thane-based auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV that was later found parked outside Ambani’s residence, the probe was transferred to the Maharashtra Anti-militancy Squad.

On Monday, the National Investigation Agency took over the case related to the recovery of the explosives-laden vehicle.