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Harish Salve Calls For Thorough Vazegate Probe; Reflects When It Became 'personal' For Him

In an interview with Arnab Goswami, Harish Salve, Queen's Counsel and Senior Advocate, delved into great detail about the Antilia bomb scare case and Vazegate

Credit: Republic Media Network

Speaking in-depth on the Antilia bomb scare case and the fallout in the Maharashtra government because of the Sachin Vaze 'Vazegate' scandal, Senior Advocate Harish Salve QC on Saturday lamented the decay in governance in Mumbai and spelled out in grave detail the astonishingly foul attempt that had been made. Speaking with Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Harish Salve questioned why a police officer was planting gelatin sticks outside Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani's house. Remarking that it was imperative that a thorough probe be conducted, he remarked on how the Mumbai Police was once among the most highly-respected, and touted the political involvement that put it on its path to the recent nadir. 

Harish Salve on Vazegate

"We have the known that Bombay had the finest governance. But since the term of a particular CM, Bombay developed links with the underworld. A Home Secretary NN Vora wrote a report on the underworld and see what was the first name on that report," he said.

Laying out what the heinous Antilia Bomb scare had entailed, the Queen's Counsel said, "For the first time, Mukesh Ambani's kids get targetted, and that's when it becomes a personal issue for me given my personal equation with him as a client. This case must be thoroughly investigated as to what led to this decay that a police officer so close to the establishment was putting gelatin sticks outside Mukesh's house". 

He added, "If a government converts the police into a band of brigands and collects money from the citizenry as extortion, and if the government joins hands, and I am not saying they have, with these elements (underworld) that is the end of the rule of law. We need to find out how deep the rot runs. Have we completely lost democracy? Or is it a handful of people who were doing something wrong? This is more from the heart and not from the brain, I feel."

Antilia bomb scare & Mansukh Hiren death case

On February 25, at around 3 PM, a car (green Scorpio) laden with explosive gelatin sticks along with a threatening letter was found by Mumbai Police, outside the Ambani residence - Antilia. A primary investigation from the CCTV revealed that the car had been parked near the residence in the intervening night prior. Later, on March 5, Mansukh Hiren, the owner of the car in question, was found dead at the Kalwa creek - with police claiming that he committed suicide by jumping into the stream. The deceased's wife, however, alleged murder and put forth that Sachin Vaze was actually using the car since November.

Shortly, then-Mumbai API Sachin Vaze who had actually been put in charge of the Antilia case, was arrested by NIA on March 13 for his alleged involvement. While Vaze has been suspended again from police service amid the NIA arresting him and taking him into custody, his superior - then Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh was transferred to Home Guards due to 'lapses' in the probe. He then sent an 8-page letter to CM Thackeray, HM Anil Deshmukh and Gov Koshyari alleging that Deshmukh had demanded from Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore from 1750 pubs in Mumbai per month. Deshmukh was forced to resign from his post after a CBI inquiry was ordered against him by the Bombay HC, since upheld by the Supreme Court with Harish Salve appearing in the hearing. Vaze, meanwhile, has been sent to judicial custody at Taloja jail till April 23 in connection with the Antilia bomb scare case, while Maharashtra govt has ordered an inquiry into Param Bir Singh as to how Vaze went 'rouge' in the Antilia case while under Singh. The entire matter is multi-faceted and murky, with new and shocking developments taking place on a daily basis.

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