In a breaking development in the Antilia bomb scare probe, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed to news agency ANI that controversial Mumbai Police cop Sachin Vaze who is currently suspended from service and is in its custody was concealing his identity from CCTV on February 25 when a gelatin sticks-laden SUV was placed outside Mukesh Ambani's residence.
NIA informed that Sachin Vaze had worn excessive-sized clothes (kurta-pyjamas) to conceal his identity while also trying to hide his body language. The update comes even as top Maharashtra ministers are meeting at the Sahyadri guest house in Mumbai.
In the CCTV footage, Sachin Waze could be seen with his head covered with a large handkerchief so that no one could identify him. He was wearing an oversized kurta-pajama, and not PPE coverall, in an attempt to mask his body language & face: National Investigation Agency (NIA)— ANI (@ANI) March 17, 2021
On Tuesday, NIA had seized a black Mercedez car from which cash amounting of Rs 5 lakhs, some clothes, and a cash counting machine has been recovered. Moreover, the NIA revealed that it has recovered the same number plate that was used on the suspicious Scorpio car outside Antilia from the Mercedez which was parked at the Mumbai Police HQ. On Monday night, the investigation body seized a laptop, mobile phones, his iPad, and some documents from the suspended Mumbai Police API's office, sources said. However, as per the NIA's statement on Wednesday, the laptop's data had been deleted and Vaze has claimed to have dropped his real phone somewhere.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police API Riyaz Kazi had arrived at the NIA office on Tuesday for questioning in the Antilia bomb scare probe for the third consecutive day. As per reports, Kazi had written to now suspended Sachin Vaze's housing society seeking CCTV footage on behalf of the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU). Riyaz Kazi was confronted with controversial Mumbai Police cop Sachin Vaze, who was arrested by NIA on Saturday night under Sections 286, 465, 473, 506(2), 120 B of the IPC, and 4(a)(b)(I)Explosive Substances Act 1908 for his alleged role & involvement in an explosives-laden vehicle being placed near Mukesh Ambani's house in Mumbai on February 25, as per NIA. The Maharashtra ATS is meanwhile investigating the alleged murder of Mansukh Hiren, the owner of the green Scorpio car in question.
Even as the NIA continued to investigate Sachin Vaze's role in the Antlia bomb scare probe, leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government met on Wednesday morning at the Sahyadri guest house. Several leaders including Ashok Chauhan, Bala Sahab Thorat, Maharashtra Dy CM Ajit Pawar, Eknath Shinde, Hasan Mushrif, and Dhananjay Munde are said to be present in the meeting, even as the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh is meeting CM Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's Varsha residence. The twin meetings comes after several hectic meetings took place between leaders and bureaucrats on Tuesday, including Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and IPS officer Rajnesh Seth meeting Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. A three-hour long meeting had also taken place at the CM's residence where Mumbai CP Parambir Singh and the Maharashtra DGP were present, along with Deshmukh.
Repeating his party NCP's line from Monday, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said that the MVA government will not protect anyone and also assured of a thorough investigation in the Mansukh Hiren's murder case by the ATS. Further, the NCP leader claimed that all parties (MVA allies) had agreed to the investigation. When NCP party chief Sharad Pawar answered questions on the case while he was inducting PC Chacko into the party, he said that the state government would assist the NIA in its investigation, but declined to speak more on the specific allegations or on whether he had spoken to the Chief Minister on the matter.
On Monday, senior NCP leader and state minister Jayant Patil had addressed the media following party supremo Sharad Pawar's meeting with Maharashtra ministers, and claimed that Sachin Vaze's suspension and case were not discussed. The NCP's meeting came after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar held their own meeting at the CM's Varsha Bungalow, where Joint CP Crime Milind Bharambe was also present. Jayant Patil asserted that there was no attempt by the Shiv Sena or the MVA government to protect anyone involved in the case.
Mumbai Police API Sachin Vaze was arrested by NIA on Saturday night under Sections 286, 465, 473, 506(2), 120 B of the IPC, and 4(a)(b)(I)Explosive Substances Act 1908 for his alleged role & involvement in an explosives-laden vehicle being placed near Mukesh Ambani's house in Mumbai on February 25. The deceased car owner's wife alleged that her husband's car was allegedly in the possession of Sachin Vaze since November 2020. After the cop's alleged connection with Mansukh Hiren came to light, the case was transferred out of Mumbai Police's Crime Branch and subsequently to the NIA, with Devendra Fadnavis producing call records (CD-R) to support his serious allegations regarding Vaze. After over 12 hours of interrogation in relation to the bomb scare, the NIA arrested Vaze on Saturday night, even as he denied any involvement in the crime. An NIA special court thereafter remanded him to NIA custody till March 25.