INDIA. Mumbai: Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze who was arrested late Saturday night by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to probe his alleged role in the conspiracy to plant an explosive-laden vehicle near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence “Antillia” in South Mumbai on February 25, was remanded to NIA custody till March 25 by the Special Court on Sunday.
He was produced before the special court at the city sessions court at Kalaghoda in South Mumbai. The charges under sections 286, 465, 473, 506 (2), 120 (B) of IPC, and other sections 14 (a) (b) of the Explosives Substances Act 1908, have been registered against him.
The Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze was questioned for nearly 12 hours by an NIA team led by Inspector General (IG) Anil Shukla throughout the day and was formally placed under arrest at 11.50 PM on Saturday. “Sachin Vaze is part of the group that planted the explosive-laden Scorpio on Carmichael Road (near Antilia) on February 25,” a top NIA official said.
The NIA recorded Vaze’s statement to find out the sequence of events as he was initially heading the probe and also for his connection to the man linked to the vehicle found with 20 gelatin sticks near the billionaire’s residence in Mumbai.
Vaze was named in a statement to police by Vimla Hiran, the widow of Thane’s Mansukh Hiran, who claimed ownership of the vehicle parked outside Ambani’s house and was later found dead in a Kalwa creek in Thane on March 05. The 45-year-old auto-parts dealer’s widow told the police that the explosives-laden Scorpio belonged to one Dr. Peter Newton and had been with them for the past three years.
She said that Hiran lent the SUV to Vaze in November 2020 and the vehicle was sent back to his shop in Thane on February 05 this year. It was alleged that Vaze was also forcing the Thane businessman to take the blame for the case on him and surrender to the police.
Earlier Vaze’s anticipatory bail application was rejected also by the Thane sessions court on Friday. The Thane sessions judge set March 19 as the next date of hearing in connection with a separate case registered by the Anti Terrorists Squad in Hiran’s alleged murder.
On his Whatsapp status, Vaze stated that “This an attempt to falsely implicate me as was done in 2004. That time I had 17 years in my hand. Now I don’t have many years. I don’t wish to survive. Goodbye”.
It may be recalled that Vaze was suspended on March 03, 2004, along with 14 other policemen on murder charges on the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus, a suspect in the December 2, 2002, Ghatkopar bomb blast case.
BJP MLA Ram Kadam demanded that Vaze’s narco analysis test be conducted to find out the truth. Whereas Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said in a tweet that one’s image can be tarnished but one’s good work cannot be obliterated.
Noted advocate Aseem Sarode said that the NIA should investigate national-level matters and should not take up local issues. Besides, Mukesh Ambani, near whose residence the explosive-laden vehicle was stated to be found, has not filed any complaint with police. As such the entire episode smacks of political vendetta. Also, the demand for the Narco test is illogical since the Narco test is illegal.