The chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Ambani terror scare case has claimed that on multiple levels, main accused — dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze — tried to scuttle the probe. He also attempted to pass off the murder of Thane resident Mansukh Hiran as suicide while briefing Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray the day his body was found in a creek on March 5.
The Scorpio vehicle allegedly used by Waze to plant 20 gelatin sticks and a threat letter outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in south Mumbai on February 25 was being used by Hiran.
A witness, an officer who at one point also investigated the case, said that after Hiran’s death came to light and he informed Waze, “…he (Waze) appeared composed and told me that Mansukh might have died by suicide due to pressure”.
The officer added that when they went to meet then police commissioner Param Bir Singh, former officer Pradeep Sharma — also an accused in the case — was seen coming out of Singh’s cabin.
He said that when they met Singh, he said that “it was very unfortunate that Mansukh Hiran died by suicide and that he shouldn’t have taken his life under pressure”.
The witness further said that even when he accompanied Waze to brief the CM about the incident, he told Thackeray that there was no terror link to the Ambani case and that Hiran’s death appeared to be a case of suicide subject to final outcome of the postmortem examination.
He added, “ATS ADG Jaijeet Singh (who also attended the meeting) said the terror angle cannot be ruled out at this stage and the real cause of Hiran’s death shall be known only after the postmortem report is received.”
Also, to ensure that no other officer apart from him investigates the case and finds his alleged involvement in it, Waze claimed that Param Bir Singh had asked only his team to probe the matter.
“CP Sir was very annoyed with the leak of investigation leads to the media and directed that officers other than those from the CIU (Crime Intelligence Unit) must immediately withdraw from the case,” Waze is reported to have told a senior police officer from the Crime Branch as per the latter’s statement included in the chargesheet.
While initially Waze probed the case, it was later handed over to ACP Nitin Alakhnure. Waze and his team were asked to assist him.
The chargesheet said that later, statements showed how Waze discouraged officers from “wasting time and energy” on the case. It can be seen in the statement of a witness who was also investigating the case at one point.
The witness said that three days after the incident, Waze took two officers, including the witness, to Param Bir Singh’s residence at Malabar Hill to discuss the case. He kept the two officers waiting downstairs, met Singh and returned 40 minutes later. The trio drove back to the Mumbai Police headquarters, the chargesheet said.
“En route, Waze said that Joint CP (Crime) was of the opinion that the Antilia incident was a useless case and that we must not be wasting much of our time and energy on it,” the officer recalled. Further, Waze, along with other accused, destroyed evidence – ranging from the vehicle register at the police headquarters to CCTV camera footage.
A few days later, when Waze tried to pin the blame on Hiran who refused to comply, he allegedly decided to get him killed and made plans to make it appear like a suicide. This is reflected in the statement of a person who identifies himself as a journalist. The witness said that on March 3, Waze told him that Hiran would visit the witness in his office and give a video interview to show that he was under “intense pressure”.
The witness added that Hiran did not come and when the witness went to his shop, Hiran was not there. The witness added that two days later, he found that Hiran had “died by suicide”. The chargesheet said that this was done to create a perception that Hiran was under a lot of stress.
Waze further made Hiran write to the CM, home minister and others complaining of harassment by the media and investigating agencies. As per the chargesheet, Waze manipulated this to show that Hiran was under “intense pressure”.
The NIA has also added statements of Hiran’s family members and staffers at his shop to show that he was not tensed enough to contemplate suicide. Family members are quoted to have questioned how the gold ornaments that Hiran was wearing went missing from his body. They also maintained that he could not have drowned as he was a good swimmer.
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