Encounter specialist Sachin Vaze, who was questioned for 12 hours today in connection with the Ambani bomb scare, has been taken into arrest by the National Investigative Agency (NIA).
Vaze was arrested at 11.50 PM on 13 March, after being questioned for 12 hours by the NIA. The probe agency is investigating last month’s recovery of an explosives-laden vehicle from outside the south Mumbai home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
The Mumbai Police officer will be presented before a court on 14 March.
A Scorpio car laden with gelatin sticks and a threat letter was found outside the Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani on 25 February. API Sachin Vaze was the first investigating officer in the Ambani bomb scare case and was later removed. The probe in the case was later taken over by the NIA.
NIA spokespersons said, Sachin Vaze has been arrested for his “role and involvement in placing an explosives-laden vehicle near Carmichael Road on 25 February”.
He has been arrested under Sections 286 (Negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance), 465 (Punishment for forgery), 473 (Making or possessing counterfeit seal), 506(2) (criminal intimidation), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code and 4(a)(b)(I)(attempt to cause an explosion) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
Sachin Vaze is being investigated for his alleged role in the death of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran, who was the owner of the Scorpio found near the Ambani residence. Hiran was found dead in a creek in the Thane district on 5 March.
On 13 March, the police officer reached the NIA office at Cumballa Hill in south Mumbai around 11.30 AM to record his statement in the Ambani bomb scare case.
Before heading to the NIA office, Sachin Vaze posted a cryptic WhatsApp status claiming that he is being falsely implicated in the case and that the “time to say goodbye” to the world is getting closer.
“3 March 2004. Fellow officers from the CID arrested me in a false case. That arrest inconclusive to date. Sensing history is going to repeat. My fellow officers are on to falsely trap me. There’s a slight difference in the scenario. Then probably I had 17 years of hope, patience, life and service too. Now I will have neither 17 years of further life nor service nor patience to live. I think the time to say goodbye to the world is coming closer,” the status read.
While recording Vaze’s statement on Saturday, the NIA called crime branch ACP Nitin Alaknure and ATS ACP Shripad Kale to share information about the investigation done so far in the cases of recovery of the SUV and the alleged murder of Hiran.
Alaknure and Kale left the NIA office after over four hours.
Meanwhile, a sessions court refused to grant Sachin Vaze interim bail on 13 March, noting that there was prima facie evidence and material against him.
In his application seeking pre-arrest bail on 12 March, Vaze said the FIR registered by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the Mansukh Hiran death case didn’t name any person. He termed the FIR as “baseless and without any motive”, saying it was a result of a “witch- hunt”.
Additional sessions Judge Shailendra Tambe refused to grant interim bail to Vaze and said his custodial interrogation was required.
Vaze, however, told the court that the complaint lodged by Hiran’s wife is based on “bald suspicion and is without any basis or motive”.
The Maharashtra ATS had registered a case of murder after the recovery of Hiran’s body against unidentified persons.
Sachin Vaze was shunted out of the Mumbai crime branch earlier this week.