INDIA.Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday transferred Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Vaze from the Mumbai crime branch after Vimla Hiren accused him of playing a role in the alleged murder of her husband Mansukh Hiren(45).
“Police officer Sachin Vaze will be removed from his current posting in the crime branch till the investigation is completed. I am taking this decision given the rising demand from the opposition. We will take appropriate action against Vaze if he is involved in his death,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told the state Assembly on Wednesday.
The National Investigation Agency(NIA) has already taken over the probe as instructed by the Union Home Ministry on Monday.
Vaze was the investigative officer in the case of explosives foundin a Mahindra Scorpio car spotted near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s home “Antilia”, at Carmichael Road in South Mumbai, on February 25, at the beginning of the probe before.
On Tuesday, Vimla Hiren, the wife of the Hiren, who owned the Scorpio and whose body was found in the Kalwa creek on Friday, March 05, alleged in her statement before Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) that Vaze had been using the car of her husband since November 2020 till February 05. Vaze had told her husband to get arrested in the case and assured him that he will be bailed out in a few days.
In the Assembly, the Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis read parts of Vimla’s statement and demanded the arrest of Vaze in connection with the case. He said that if Vaze was not responsible for Hiren’s death, he should be arrested for the destruction of evidence. If Vaze is not arrested, it meant that he was being protected.
Whereas the Congress MLA and former Assembly Speaker Nana Patole stated that former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had claimed that he had call data record of Vaze’s phone. It should be investigated how he got access to call data in violation of regulations. In reply Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the Government would verify the CDR and would also collect the CDRs if available with Opposition members.
Vaze is one of Mumbai Police’s encounter specialists”. He was reinstated in June 2020 after a 16-year suspension for his alleged role in the custodial death of a 27-year-old man, Khwaja Yunus, in 2003, and swiftly became the Mumbai Police’s go-to man for all its high-profile cases. Within days of returning to the force, He was moved to the Crime Branch and made in charge of the Crimes Investigation Unit (CIU). Soon after, he began handling probes such as the fake social media followers case in which rapper Badshah was summoned, before moving on to the TRP case and leading the Raigad Police team to arrest Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami from his Worli residence. He also led raids on hookah parlors at night.
For the uninitiated, the Mahindra Scorpio, with 20 gelatin sticks inside, was found near Ambani’s high-rise home on February 25. It had a fake registration number and was parked close to Antillia. The police had found four more fake number plates. All four bore registration numbers of vehicles that are part of the Z-plus security convoy of the Ambani family.
The police had also found a note (in Hindi) in the car addressed to the Ambani family which read: “This is just a trailer. Next time the gelatin sticks will be connected. Preparations have been made to bomb your entire family. Mend your ways. Good night”.
On February 28, a message purportedly of a group called ‘Jaish-Ul-Hind’, claiming responsibility for the threat, had popped on a Telegram channel and the investigating agencies were verifying the message to find out if the claim was a red-herring.
Hiren, the owner of the vehicle was found dead in a creek in Thane on Friday, March 05, 2021. His body was fished out from the retibunder (Kalwa) creek in Thane district, by the regional disaster management cell of Thane Municipal Corporation.
He was missing since Thursday (March 04) and the kin of Hiren had registered a missing complaint with Navpada police in Thane. He had reportedly told his family before leaving home that he was going to meet some ‘saheb’.
Hiren, dealing in interior decoration of cars, had parked the car in Vikhroli in northeast Mumbai on February 17 since it developed defects while he was on his way to Mumbai from Thane. However the next day he found that the car was missing. As such he had complained of the missing car with the Vikhroli police station. This narration he had given to the media soon after the incident. Earlier Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had told the state legislative assembly that the car belonged to one Sam Peter Newton, who had given for interior decoration to Hiren. Since had not paid the cost of the decoration work, Hiren had retained that car with him.
While the Accidental Death Report was registered soon after Hiren’s body was found, with Mumbra Police Station, the Maharashtra Anti Terrorists Squad (ATS) on Sunday (March 07) registered a separate case (No 12/2021) after his wife Vimal complained that her husband was killed and had not committed suicide by jumping into the creek.
During post mortem, no injury marks were found on Hiren’s body. As such viscera have been sent to the forensic laboratory. However, what is baffling is the last location of Hiren’s phone was traced to the Vasai-Virar area (near Mumbai). But his body was found several km away in Kalwa creek.
Hiren’s last rites were performed on Saturday. He is survived by his wife Vimal and children-Meet(20), Lay(16), and Vansh(12). They have been provided round-the-clock security at their residence-Vikas Palm Housing society located at Khopat a prominent residential locality in Thane West.
Agitation by the Jain community
In the meanwhile, the “Akhil Bharatiya Jain Alpsankhyank Mahamandal”( All India Jain minority federation AIJMF), a national body of the people belonging to the Jain community, organized a state-wide agitation program on Wednesday to demand the immediate arrest of the “killers” of Hiren. The agitation was also organized to condemn the abduction (on March 01) and subsequent death of a merchant Gautam Hiran, from Belapur in the Ahmednagar district of Western Maharashtra. AIJMF National President Lalit Gandhi said that if the killers responsible for the death of two businessmen were not nabbed within the next 10 days, then a nationwide agitation would be launched.