Updated: March 14, 2021 7:56:16 am
After questioning him for over 12 hours, the National Investigation Agency late Saturday night arrested Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze in connection with the bomb scare at Mukesh Ambani’s Antilia residence.
Vaze has been booked under Sections 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy; 286 for negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance; 465 for forgery; 473 for making or possessing counterfeit seal and 506(2) for criminal intimidation.
Earlier, shortly before walking into the NIA’s south Mumbai office at 11 am, Vaze posted a message on social media alleging that his colleagues in the force were falsely implicating him. He signed off saying the “time to say goodbye to the world is coming closer”.
On Friday, Vaze was moved out from the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to the Special Branch amid allegations linked to his role in the bomb scare and the alleged murder of Thane resident Mansukh Hiren. The SUV found parked outside Antilia with gelatin sticks on February 25 was traced to Hiren.
“3rd March 2004. Fellow officers from the CID arrested me in a false case. That arrest inconclusive till date. Sensing the history is going to repeat. My fellow officers are on to falsely trap me. There’s a slight difference in the scenario. Then probably I had 17 years of hope, patience, life and service too. Now I will have neither 17 years of further life nor service nor patience to live. I think the time to say goodbye to the world is coming closer.”
This was the status message on Vaze’s WhatsApp number at 10 am, with a reference to an earlier custodial death for which he was suspended for many years and had to quit the force. He was re-instated last year.
An hour after that intriguing message, Vaze appeared at the NIA office where he was questioned. Later in the day, the Central agency called two Assistant Commissioners of Police Nitin Alaknure and Sripath Kale.
Alaknure, with the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, was the investigating officer (IO) in the bomb scare case before it was taken over by NIA. Kale, with the ATS, is the IO in the alleged Hiren murder case.
On March 5, the body of Hiren, an auto decor shopowner, was found in the Kalwa creek hours after he was reported missing by his family.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis alleged that Vaze knew Hiren and they had spoken over the phone earlier last year. After Hiren’s death came to light, Fadnavis read out a statement in the Maharashtra Assembly of the deceased’s wife Vimla in which she alleged that Vaze was linked to her husband’s death.
A case of murder was lodged which is now being investigated by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). The ATS had on March 8 interrogated Vaze for over eight hours where he had denied using the SUV. He had applied for anticipatory bail at the Sessions court in Thane Friday.
The plea was to be heard on March 19, as Vaze’s application for interim relief was rejected by the court Friday.
Meanwhile, ATS officers probing the murder case have re-created the scene of the crime where Hiren’s body was recovered. They claim to have made some crucial progress in their investigation. The ATS has so far recorded the statement of 17 people, including Hiren’s wife, son and brother.
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