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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Ambani terror scare case: Court rejects NIA’s custody request for Sachin Waze, Sunil Mane

The NIA had last week sought the custody of Waze and Mane claiming that they want to probe the role of a suspected person in the conspiracy.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
Updated: August 31, 2021 8:01:05 am
NIA had sought Waze’s custody for two days and Mane’s custody for five days | Express, PTI file photos

A special court on Monday rejected an application filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking custody of dismissed Mumbai Police officers Sachin Waze and Sunil Mane in connection to the Ambani terror scare case.

Special Judge Prashant R Sitre, meanwhile, allowed Waze to be admitted to a private hospital to undergo treatment for his heart condition.

With only a few days left for the central agency to file its chargesheet in the case, the NIA had sought Waze’s custody for two days and Mane’s custody for five days.

The NIA, in its application filed last week, had said that the custody of the two men was required to probe prime suspects who played a key role in the conspiracy. It had also said that the accused need to be confronted with various evidence, including call data records, witness statements and bank transactions.

Lawyer Sudeep Pasbola, representing Waze, told the court that the NIA plea was filed at the “fag-end” of the 180-day custody period and does not give a single new ground to justify why custody is being sought at this stage.

“The NIA claims that it wants to probe the role of suspected persons. But there is no ground… on when this information about the suspects was received or during whose investigation… there is an inadvertent delay in seeking custody when the 180-day period is about to get over,” he said.

He also questioned the timing of the NIA plea, stating that Waze had approached the court for treatment and it was a question of his “life and death”.

The court was told that Waze has 90 per cent blockages in three arteries and requires an immediate coronary artery bypass surgery. “He is not able to walk, he is puffing and panting. He was made to walk to the court and not even given a wheelchair. We do not want to be Stan Swamy,” Pasbola said referring to the 84-year-old tribal rights activist who died in a private hospital in Mumbai last month while in judicial custody for the Elgaar Parishad case.

When the court asked Waze if he wanted to say anything, he said: “Mala mazha Stan Swamy hou dyaachya nahi aahe (I do not want to become Stan Swamy).”

Mane’s lawyer Vaibhav Bagade said that the NIA was being “callous and irresponsible”. He added that instead of fact-finding, the agency was indulging in “fact-fixing” by seeking custody at this stage on the basis of the same grounds mentioned in the earlier remand pleas.

The NIA submitted its case diary stating that it had new material which the court can refer to. The special judge, however, rejected the plea.

The court allowed Waze to undergo treatment at a private hospital in Thane. It also directed the superintendent of Taloja jail, NIA and Waze’s lawyers — Rounak Naik and Sajal Yadav — who filed the medical treatment plea — to submit a report every 15 days. It further ordered Waze to bear the expenses of his treatment. The NIA is expected to file its chargesheet by Saturday in the case.

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