Updated: April 11, 2021 8:08:03 pm
Assistant Police Inspector Riyazuddin Kazi became the second serving officer in the Mumbai Police to be arrested by the National Investigation Agency in the Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran murder case on Sunday morning.
NIA sources said that Kazi is a co-conspirator and involved in disposing evidence along with former Crime Intelligence Unit chief API Sachin Waze.
An investigator from the NIA on the condition of anonymity said, “We have merged both the Antilia bomb scare and the murder case so Kazi becomes an accused in both the crimes. But we are still gathering evidence against Kazi in the murder case.”
Since the arrest of Waze on March 13, the agency has been constantly calling Kazi to the NIA office for questioning. The NIA had called him again for questioning on Saturday and he was formally arrested at 12.45 am on Sunday.
He was subsequently produced in court around 2.30 pm on Sunday. The NIA told the court that Kazi was an associate of Waze and was aware of all the developments and had also helped in disposing of evidence.
“He was well aware about the developments, designs as well as all the things that transpired to take place. When the agency stepped in for investigation, slowly and steadily, the accused started disposing of the articles that were material of evidence to the case that is the CPU and the DVR of CCTV footage,” prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves told the court.
The prosecutor added that when these evidences were being disposed of by Waze, Kazi was there along with him. “He did it at the behest of Waze. Kazi was present at the time when the evidence like the number plates were being disposed of,” Gonsalves said while seeking 10-day police custody of Kazi.
Gonsalves added that in the CCTV footage accessed by the NIA, Kazi was seen with Waze at various places and his questioning was necessary to find out the reasons behind them moving around together.
The prosecutor also told the court that Hiran was murdered when they came to know that the investigation over the explosives-laden vehicle outside Antilia was to be handed over to the NIA and they feared that their involvement would be found out.
“His role needs to be ascertained in the murder conspiracy,” the prosecutor told court, adding that they need to find out from where the gelatin sticks were procured by the accused.
Countering the allegations, the defence lawyer said that Kazi has been going to the NIA office for the last 20 days where he is being inquired from morning till evening.
“I seized the diary from a shop named Sadguru, I collected the DVR of the CCTV footage from Saket housing society in Thane. I also collected CCTV footage, CPU and register from two shops in Mulund and I have made station house diary of each seizure and handed over to Waze,” said Kazi’s lawyer Hasnain Kazi. “If I am a co-conspirator, then why should I enter these seizures in the station house diary and why should I create evidence against myself?”
The defence added that the NIA, who had custody of main accused Waze for 26 days, could not extract details as to who made these number plates and who attached the plates to the vehicle.
“And due to that failure the prosecution is making a scapegoat of me,” said lawyer Hasnain Kazi.
After hearing both sides, the court remanded Kazi in NIA custody till April 16.
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