Updated: March 13, 2021 2:19:47 am
Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze was on Friday transferred from the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to the Special Branch of the police, as allegations swirled about him in connection with the security scare outside the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, and the subsequent murder of Mansukh Hiren, to whom the car used to create the scare was traced.
On the last day of the state Assembly’s Budget Session on Wednesday, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had announced that owing to allegations by the Opposition, Vaze would be transferred from CIU.
Late Thursday, a decision was taken to transfer Vaze to the Special Branch. He was given the charge of Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC). The CFC handles police clearance for passports, various licenses and other public-related services.
This is a non-executive posting compared to his role in the CIU where he was spearheading the investigation of several important cases. He was probing the rigged Television Ratings Points case, the Dilip Chhabria cheating case and the fake social media followers case.
Prior to Vaze’s appointment to CIU, the unit was primarily involved in gathering information. After he was posted there, several important cases were handed over to CIU. Vaze’s proficiency on cyber offences was also cited behind his posting to CIU.
Vaze was rehabilitated in Mumbai Police in June 2020, after a 16-year suspension for his alleged role in the custodial death of a 27-year-old man, Khwaja Yunus, in 2003. He had quit the force during the suspension. His reinstatement was explained as a Covid-19 measure to tide over staff shortage.
However, Vaze fortunes took an adverse turn after he began probing the terror threat scare case in which a Scorpio vehicle was found parked outside the Ambani residence with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat letter inside it on February 25. The police found that the vehicle was being used by Mansukh Hiren, a Thane-based auto decor shopowner.
On March 5, Hiren’s body was found in Kalwa creek hours after he was reported missing by his family.
On same day, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis alleged at the Assembly that Vaze in fact knew Hiren from before and they had spoken over the phone in the first half of last year. After Hiren’s death came to light, Fadnavis read out the statement of the deceased’s wife Vimla where she alleged that Vaze was linked to her husband’s death.
Vimla further alleged that Vaze had asked Hiren to get arrested in the case and promised to get him bailed out. She claimed that Vaze had in fact been using the Scorpio between last November and February 5, this year. Based on these allegations, the Opposition demanded that Vaze be suspended and arrested.
After several adjournments during the Assembly session on this issue, the home minister had announced in the House that Vaze will be transferred from the Crime Branch. While the terror scare case was taken over by NIA, the case of Hiren’s death was transferred to Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had later said that Vaze, who was briefly with the Shiv Sena during his time away from the force, had been made to appear like “Osama (Bin Laden)” and that he should not be targeted until his alleged involvement in the case is established.
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