INDIA. Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet on Friday against dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze and nine others arrested in connection with the Antilia explosives scare case and subsequent murder of Thane trader Mansukh Hiran.
The case relates to the investigation of three cases initially registered by Mumbai Police: FIR no. 35/2021 dated February 25 registered at Gamdevi Police Station, regarding the placing of explosive-laden Mahindra Scorpio Vehicle on Carmichael Road, in South Mumbai outside Antilia, the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, during the intervening night of February 24-25. The vehicle contained 20 Gelatine stick explosives and a threat Note addressed to Ambani.
The second FIR no. 47/2021 registered at Vikhroli Police Station, Mumbai, related to subsequent theft of above mentioned Scorpio. The third was the Accidental Death Report (ADR) No. 39/2021 registered at Mumbra Police Station, Thane, about the recovery of the dead body of Mansukh Hiran retrieved on March 05, from Mumbra Creek near Reti Bunder, Thane.
On Friday, the NIA Superintendent of Police Vikram Khalate and Special Prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves submitted around a 10,000-page charge sheet in the special court. The NIA cited nearly 200 witnesses to prove the guilt of the accused. Statements of 20 important witnesses were recorded before metropolitan magistrates and they were declared by the NIA as “protected witnesses.”
The NIA filed the charge sheet two days before the end of the 30-day extension granted to it by the court in August. Special NIA judge Prashant R Sitre then directed the agency to serve the copies of the charge sheet to the accused personally and take their acknowledgment. The court also granted the NIA permission to continue the investigation. On August 30, the special NIA court had rejected NIA’s demand to extend the custody of Vaze and Mane.
“On Friday, September 03, NIA, filed a charge sheet in NIA special court, Mumbai under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act, and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the 10 arrested persons. During the investigation, incriminating evidence came to the fore against the arrested accused involved in various stages of conspiracy of placing explosive-laden Mahindra Scorpio vehicle, its theft, and commission of murder of Mansukh Hiran,” the NIA said in a statement.
The charge sheet has been filed under sections 120B, 201, 286, 302, 364, 384, 386, 403, 419, 465, 471, 473, and 506 of Indian Penal Code, sections 3 and 25 of Arms Act, section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act and sections, 16, 18 and 20 of UAPA against the 10 arrested persons: Sachin Hindurao Waze (Thane), Naresh Ramniklal Gor (Grant Road, South Mumbai), Vinayak Balasaheb Shinde (Kalwa Naka, Thane), Riyazuddin Hisamuddin Kazi( Jogeshwari, North Mumbai), Sunil Dharma Mane, (Malad, North Mumbai), Santosh Atmaram Shelar (Malad, North Mumbai), Anand Pandurang Jadhav (Andheri, West, North West Mumbai), Satish Tirupati Mothkuri (Goregaon, West, North Mumbai), Manish Vasantbhai Soni (Malad, North Mumbai) and Pradeep Rameshwar Sharma (Andheri, East, North West Mumbai).
Riyazuddin Kazi had been Vaze’s former colleague at the criminal intelligence unit (CIU) of Mumbai police’s crime branch, Sunil Mane had been Vaze’s friend and dismissed crime branch inspector, Naresh Gaur is a cricket bookie and Vinayak Shinde is a police constable dismissed in Lakhan Bhaiya fake encounter case of 2006.
The Charge sheet includes
The charge sheet, submitted before a special NIA court, includes Section 20 of the UAPA (membership of a terrorist gang or organization), Section 16 (terrorist act), and Section 18 (conspiracy). It also contains CCTV footage, call records, bank statements, and other documents submitted in sealed envelopes. Footage of Vaze meeting Hiran in South Mumbai days before the explosives were planted and the evidence collected by the agency are part of the charge sheet. NIA has claimed that Vaze drove the Scorpio and parked it outside Ambani’s residence and that he was a key conspirator in the murder of Hiran.
After an initial investigation, the Mumbai Police and Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) found Vaze as the key conspirator in the alleged murder case. Subsequently, the NIA took over the investigation and arrested Vaze. He was dismissed from service in May. The NIA later also arrested encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma and four others – Santosh Shelar, Anand Jadhav, Manish Soni, and Satish Mothukari – in connection with the murder case. The NIA claimed that the four accused acted on the instructions of Vaze and allegedly strangled Hiran to death in a vehicle, along Ghodbunder road, and dumped his body in the creek.
During the investigation, incriminating evidence came to the fore against the above-mentioned 10 arrested accused involved in various stages of conspiracy of placing explosive-laden Mahindra Scorpio vehicle, its theft, and commission of murder of Mansukh Hiran.
At present both Vaze and Mane are in judicial custody at Taloja Central Prison in Raigad district. Vaze was recently admitted to Surana Sethia Hospital at Bhiwandi for open-heart surgery.