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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Two motives in NIA chargesheet in the Ambani bomb scare case: Bid to reclaim clout, monetary gains from conspiracy

While the chargesheet does not explain how the accused planned to make monetary gains in the future after the threat, it states that it wants to continue its investigation of the 'larger conspiracy'.

Written by Sadaf Modak , Mohamed Thaver , Sagar Rajput | Mumbai |
Updated: September 8, 2021 12:50:50 pm
Ambani bomb scare case, Antilla car bomb case, Mumbai Ambani terror scare case, Mumbai NIA, Mumbai news, Indian express newsApart from the ten accused arrested in the case, including five dismissed and former cops, the chargesheet has not named any suspects or absconding accused. (File)

The over 10,000-page chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Ambani terror scare case mentions two motives for the accused to place a Scorpio vehicle with gelatin sticks and a threat letter outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani: the bid to ‘reclaim his clout as the ace detective/encounter specialist’ and ‘to make huge monetary gains from the entire conspiracy’.

While the chargesheet does not explain how the accused planned to make monetary gains in the future after the threat, it states that it wants to continue its investigation of the ‘larger conspiracy’.

Apart from the ten accused arrested in the case, including five dismissed and former cops, the chargesheet has not named any suspects or absconding accused. It states that it is ascertaining ‘the role of other persons’ in the entire conspiracy, placing Waze at the centre of it.

Against Waze, the NIA has invoked the maximum of 17 charges among all accused, including murdering Thane resident Mansukh Hiran linked to the SUV, destruction of evidence, terrorist activity, membership of a terrorist gang under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The chargesheet puts together a sequence of events roughly from mid-February to March 4, forming the crux of the conspiracy.

Waze had booked a room at the Oberoi Hotel in South Mumbai for 100 nights on a fictitious name and the purpose of the stay at the hotel between February 16 and 20 was “part of the conspiracy and he had thought it to be a safe place for the planning/implementation of the same”. Further, the chargesheet claims that an elaborate story was made up to show that the Scorpio eventually used to plant the explosive was stolen from Hiran on February 17.

It was claimed that the vehicle’s steering wheel jammed while Hiran was driving to South Mumbai and he left it on the highway from where it eventually was stolen, even as it was still being used by Waze in the conspiracy on February 25. The chargesheet has the statement of an Ola driver who ferried Hiran from the highway to South Mumbai. It states that Hiran spoke to a certain “sir” multiple times during the ride. It further states that after a call from “sir”, Hiran, who was to be dropped at the Mumbai police headquarters, asked to be dropped a short distance away. CCTV footage from this area shows Hiran having met Waze.

The chargesheet also states that it was decided that the fake number plate to be used on the Scorpio would be one among the 49 convoy vehicles used by the Ambani family. The NIA claims that this was done to “create an enormous impact” and to “give the Ambani family direct threat with dire consequences.”

The chargesheet further says that a Telegram channel in the name of Jaish Ul Hind claiming responsibility for the incident also said that it was “just a trailer” and that “a big picture was yet to come”. The NIA claims that this clearly depicts “the motive of A – 1 (Sachin Waze) for huge monetary gains from the entire conspiracy.”

After investigators reached Hiran, Waze allegedly tried to convince him to take responsibility for the conspiracy. The NIA has taken statements from Hiran’s family to show that he was with Waze, meeting him every day from February 26 to March 4. When Hiran refused to claim responsibility, the conspiracy to eliminate him was hatched, the NIA states.

The chargesheet states that in order to prepare grounds that he may have committed suicide, Waze manipulated a complaint letter written by Hiran alleging harassment by the media and investigating agencies to show that he was “mentally upset”. Waze also tried to show Hiran was mentally harassed through a media interview.

While Hiran’s body was fished out of Mumbra creek and sent for post-mortem on March 5, as per the doctor’s statement to NIA, Waze had reached the Kalwa hospital and enquired about the post mortem report.

The NIA’s chargesheet claims that between March 1 and March 4, a flurry of activity was seen at the Mumbai police headquarters. Through statements of CIU staffers, the NIA claims that conspiracy meetings were held where Waze’s co-accused including retired ACP Pradeep Sharma, Sunil Mane, were present at the CIU office during these days along with others. Hiran also visited the CIU office during these days.

On March 2, Sharma visited Waze’s office for 10 minutes. According to a statement by another police official, on the same day, Sharma also asked his associates to wait downstairs while he went to meet ” Cp Sir” “. The next day, too, Sharma met Waze at PS Foundation office, an NGO run by Sharma, the statement read.

While Shinde, who was also present during their meet, and he left by 3.30 pm, Hiren was allowed to go at 7.30-8 pm that day, the NIA claims.

Statements claim that on March 4, the day of Hiran’s murder, Waze met Mumbai commissioner Param Bir Singh thrice. “On that day, Sachin Waze met CP Mumbai Police 03 times, that is, 11.30 hrs to 12.00 hrs, 15.30 to 17.50 hrs, 19.00 hrs to 19.30 hrs,” an official from the CIU told the NIA. The statements, however, do not link these meetings to the conspiracy.

Last week, the NIA had submitted before the court that it was still probing key role played by other suspects as part of the ‘larger conspiracy’. One of the defence lawyers, Zeeshan Khan, representing Riyazuddin Kazi, said that they had received the chargesheet. “The charges of terror have been dropped against my client. We have full faith in the judiciary,” he said.

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