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Sachin Vaze's NIA Custody Extended Till April 3 Even As He Pleads Innocence In Court

A special NIA court on Thursday extended the custody of Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze till April 3 in connection with the Antilia Bomb scare case.

Sachin Vaze

A special NIA court on Thursday extended the custody of suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze till April 3 in connection with the Antilia Bomb scare case. During the hearing, the counsel for NIA told the court that the accused destroyed 7 to 8 crucial Digital Video Recorders and stayed in a 5-star hotel days before the incident using a fake ID card. Confirming Republic TV's newsbreak, he stated that a businessman paid approximately Rs.12 lakh for the hotel room in which Vaze stayed for 100 days. Mentioning that the Assistant Police Inspector had shown the place where mobile phones were destroyed and clothes were burnt, it added that the samples from the place have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for further examination.

Moreover, the prosecution also revealed that the agency found 62 unaccounted live bullets from Vaze's residence while 25 service bullets are missing. Moreover, the court was informed that the blood samples of the suspended cop have been taken for DNA profiling to match with those which were found in the 5 vehicles seized by NIA. Contending that Vaze was not cooperating with the probe, the agency's counsel sought an extension of his remand for 15 days with the invocation of the UAPA and the need to confront him with two other accused. 

On the other hand, Vaze's lawyer Abad Ponda argued that NIA has to satisfy the court on invoking sections of UAPA in this case. While he asserted that this case does not qualify as a terrorist act as per UAPA, the agency divulged that the Kalina FSI report of the Mahindra Scorpio had come positive for explosives. Pleading innocence before the court, Vaze said that he did what was expected from an Investigating Officer. Furthermore, the suspended cop said that he was the IO for only one and a half-day and added that the Crime Branch and the Mumbai Police team also investigated this case. Emphasizing that he has nothing to do with the crime, Vaze claimed that he was being made a scapegoat. 

Antilia bomb scare and Sachin Vaze's arrest

At around 3 pm on February 25, the security officer of Antilia- Mukesh Ambani's residence in Mumbai informed the Gamdevi Police Station of a suspicious 4-wheeler being parked on Carmichael Road. 20 sticks of gelatin and a threatening note typewritten in English were recovered from the Mahindra Scorpio. The case took a new dimension after the vehicle's owner Mansukh Hiren was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5. While Hiren's wife accused Vaze of being responsible for her husband's death, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis produced Call Detail Record claiming that the Assistant Police Inspector was in constant touch with the deceased. 

In her complaint, Hiren's wife also alleged that the aforesaid car was in Vaze's possession since November 2020. On March 8, the NIA took over the Antilia bomb scare case and registered an FIR under Sections 120 B, 286, 465, 473 and 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4(a)(b)(i) of The Explosive Substances Act. After being grilled for nearly 12 hours on March 13, Vaze was arrested by the NIA and remanded to its custody till March 25 subsequently.

The NIA examined various luxury cars used by Vaze and recreated the crime scene. While the Central agency also took over the probe into Mansukh Hiren's death on March 20, the Maharashtra ATS continued to investigate the case. In fact, it even arrested convicted cop Vinayak Shinde and bookie Naresh Gaur for their role in the crime. However, the ATS handed over the probe to the NIA only on Wednesday after the Thane Sessions Court's order in this regard. 

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