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62 unaccounted live bullets and rounds recovered from Waze home: NIA

Special judge Prashant Sitre ordered for Waze to be sent to NIA custody till April 3.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
Updated: March 26, 2021 8:32:00 am
Sachin Waze newsOn March 4 evening, Waze was seen in CCTV footage leaving the Commissionerate office in south Mumbai and walking towards the GPO (PTI/File)

THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday claimed that it had recovered 62 unaccounted live bullets and rounds from the residence of suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Waze.

Waze (51), meanwhile, claimed before the special court that he was a “scapegoat” in this incident. He said that he had investigated the Ambani bomb scare case as an investigating officer along with crime branch officials for over a day before “suddenly something changed” and he was arrested when he went on his own to the NIA office on March 13.

Special judge Prashant Sitre ordered for Waze to be sent to NIA custody till April 3.

“I am a scapegoat in this. I have nothing to do with this crime. I had worked for one and a half days on this case as an investigation officer and suddenly some changes took place somewhere. When I went to the NIA office on my own on March 13, I was arrested. It is said that I have admitted about my involvement in this case, I have not admitted anything,” Waze told the court.

He then sought permission from the special judge to make further submissions. “Mala hya baddal kahi sangaycha aahe. Saglya goshti la kahi background aahe (I want to say something about this. There is a background to this),” Waze told the court in Marathi. He also sought to not be sent to further NIA custody. On the advice of his lawyer as directed by court, he said he wanted to make written submissions. He was allowed to write a plea after the hearing.

Waze was produced before the court on Thursday afternoon, with the NIA seeking an additional 15 days of his custody after it added terror charges under the UAPA.

Additional solicitor general Anil Singh submitted that apart from the 62 unaccounted bullets, the NIA had also found that Waze had been allotted 30 bullets for his service pistol as a police officer. Singh said 25 of those were missing.

“When officials are given ammunition, they have to account for each and every one of it used by them. We want to investigate where the 25 bullets were used and what patronage did he have which allowed him to not have kept a record of these? Why was the huge quantity kept at his house and was it part of a deep-rooted conspiracy has to be probed,” Singh argued.

He also said that the NIA had found records including bills of Rs 12 lakh paid for a suite at Trident Hotel in South Mumbai for 100 days booked by Waze through a fake Aadhaar card with his photograph but a false name.

Waze’s lawyer, senior counsel Aabad Ponda, argued that the NIA had added UAPA in the case so they could get his additional custody after they have already been given 12 days, and the case of alleged murder of Thane resident Mansukh Hiran has been clubbed with the bomb scare case. Under UAPA, an accused can be sent to a maximum of 30 days in police custody while other laws allow only for 14 days of custody. The NIA has also taken over the Hiran murder case.

Ponda said that the charges of terror cannot be invoked in the case as there was no intent shown to cause an act to hurt the unity, integrity, security of the country or target a section of its citizens to create terror as defined under the Act. “This case is limited to an individual as per the threat note claimed to have been recovered from the car. For UAPA to be invoked, the person targeted has to be a public functionary. The individual has to be a constitutional authority and not a famous person in society,” Ponda submitted, opposing the NIA’s plea seeking Waze’s custody. He added that gelatin sticks by themselves without a detonator cannot be said to be an explosive substance.

“The forensic science laboratory has given a report which is positive for the presence of explosives seized from the Scorpio car at the scene of crime. 20 gelatin sticks were found in a vehicle on a public road. As a police officer, why would you keep gelatin sticks in a car on a public road?” Singh submitted, adding that the intention of the crime is yet to be known and the agency wants to probe if it was done for the purpose of disturbing the economy of the country by targeting a businessman.

He also said that evidence including spots where Waze allegedly disposed of his cell phone, number plates and clothes worn by him have been found. Singh said the incident had shocked the city, state and country for the alleged involvement of a police officer in planting explosives. The agency also said it wants to confront the two others arrested for Hiran’s murder to probe with Waze for clarity on his role.

On February 25, a Scorpio car with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat letter was found near the residence of Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai. The NIA claims that Waze is behind the incident. Hiran, who was using the Scorpio, was found dead in a creek on March 5. The NIA is probing both the cases.

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