August 5, 2021 1:07:01 am
Referring TO a judgment dating back 20 years when he was the investigating officer of a case, dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze argued in-person before the special court on Wednesday seeking default bail in the Ambani terror scare case.
Waze, who is lodged at Taloja Central Jail, made submissions via video conference from the prison, claiming that he was entitled to be released as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had not filed a chargesheet against him within 90 days of his arrest in March.
Last week, the NIA had sought another month to file the chargesheet against Waze and four others on grounds, including that the evidence was voluminous and the accused were trained policemen dodging the probe. Since the men have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the agency can get a maximum of 180 days to file the chargesheet from the day of their arrest.
Sitting with a stack of papers in the video conference room of the jail, Waze, who was representing himself before the court for the first time, read out judgments and made submissions for over 30 minutes, making a plea for the safeguard of his fundamental rights and his rights as an accused.
The dismissed assistant inspector relied on judgments, including a case where the Supreme Court in 2001 had upheld the Bombay High Court’s order granting default bail to a woman charged under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
Waze informed the court that he was the investigating officer in the case. He claimed that as per the judgment, since UAPA was not invoked against him in the FIR or the first remand, the NIA should have filed a chargesheet within 90 days.
A similar claim made by Waze in his previous bail application seeking default bail in June was rejected by the special court. The special court had then allowed NIA its first extension of 60 days to file the chargesheet against Waze and four others as per provisions of the UAPA.
On Wednesday, as Waze attempted to speak of his service record, the court said that he should stick to arguing on the default bail as the court was only hearing his limited plea.
On Tuesday, the court had disallowed Waze’s plea seeking to be produced before the court physically to argue his default bail stating that since his lawyer was present, he could consult him and be represented by the legal counsel. The court on Wednesday said that since Waze has a lawyer representing him in this case, he should not insist on arguing in-person.
Meanwhile, lawyer Aabad Ponda, representing dismissed Mumbai Police inspector Sunil Mane said that the NIA had not provided the accused with the prosecutor’s report while seeking an extension. NIA special prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves said that as per provisions of law, the agency had provided a copy of the application and the rest of the investigation papers were sensitive and could not be shared with the accused at this stage.
The court is likely to decide on Thursday on the default bail pleas of three of the accused, including Waze, and whether NIA can be granted an extension by a month to file the chargesheet.
Ten people have been arrested in the case so far for allegedly planting loose gelatin sticks in an SUV near the Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani and the subsequent murder of Thane resident Mansukh Hiran, who was linked to the vehicle. The NIA has claimed that Waze was the main conspirator in the case.
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