In a big development on Thursday, Republic TV exclusively accessed CCTV footage of Sachin Vaze's alleged car leaving the 5-star hotel on February 20 and the scanned images of his 5 bags. As per the video, he is allegedly seen exiting the luxury hotel at around 1.30 pm in a Land Cruiser Prado, the vehicle in which the suspended Assistant Police Inspector allegedly brought Mansukh Hiren to the Crime Branch. Moreover, the images show 5 bags scanned at the hotel containing several items including wads of cash.
While it is not clear whether there were gelatin sticks in his possession, sources revealed that a woman hailing from Gujarat checked in at the aforesaid hotel with 7 bags at the same time as Vaze at about 7.30 pm on February 17. Earlier, Republic TV had revealed that Vaze stayed there using a fake ID card. As per sources, these vehicles used by Vaze are among those seized by the NIA and are visible in the CCTV recording. Sources further added that multiple meetings were held in this period to give shape to the Antilia bomb scare conspiracy.
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. Earlier in the day, Vaze's NIA custody was extended till April 3.