Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze, arrested in the probe into recovery of explosives from a car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house Antilia, has confessed his role in the case. The NIA had arrested Vaze, an assistant police inspector with the Mumbai Police, on 13 March in connection with the case. The agency arrested him after 12 hours of grilling.
Sources said that Vaze was involved in placing gelatin sticks in the Scorpio car that was found parked near Ambani’s multi-storey house ‘Antilia’ on 25 February. When he was questioned about it, he admitted to his involvement.
Sachin Vaze has been charged under IPC Sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) 465 (forgery), 473 (making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc with intent to commit forgery), 506(2) (punishment for criminal intimidation), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.
Vaze’s advocate Sudeep Pasbola said that the basis of the arrest was just suspicion. He said there was no concrete evidence against Sachin Vaze. “The court remanded Vaze till 25 March, but kept the matter for further hearing on 15 March. The court has asked the NIA to show what evidence it has collected and what is the stage of investigation,” Pasbola said.
Another defence lawyer, Sunny Punamia, submitted before the court that Vaze’s arrest was “completely illegal”. “The argument placed before the court was that the accused has been arrested solely based on suspicion and no prima facie case is established in the FIR. Therefore, if no prima facie case is established on a bare reading of the FIR against the accused, the detainment and arrest of the accused itself is completely illegal and even one day’s incarceration of the accused would be violative of his constitutional rights,” he said.
The lawyer said that Vaze’s arrest was illegal as the accused was not informed of the grounds of the arrest, and he wasn’t given an option to seek legal help and make a call to a relative of his choice. On these grounds, his custodial interrogation is not warranted, it’s arbitrary and the accused must be released on bail forthwith as the investigation has not been conducted on the settled principles of law, he said.
The NIA summoned Sachin Vaze at the agency’s Mumbai office at Cumballa Hill in south Mumbai around 11:30 AM on 13 March to record his statement. He was arrested after being questioned by the NIA officials for around 12 h. The case was handed over to the NIA after the mysterious death of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who claimed that the vehicle had been stolen a week earlier. His body was found in a creek at Thane on 5 March.
Credited with eliminating 63 alleged criminals in ‘encounters’, Vaze, a 1990-batch officer of the state cadre, was suspended in 2004 over his role in the custodial death of a 2002 Ghatkopar blast suspect Khwaja Yunus and was reinstated last year. Vaze had joined Shiv Sena while he was under suspension. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recently said W]Vaze was a member of Shiv Sena till 2008.
Earlier on 12 March, he was transferred to the Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) unit of the city police. The CFC is the unit that handles police clearance for passports, various licences and other public related services.