Republic Media Network on Wednesday accessed exclusive information in connection with former Mumbai police officer and encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma being questioned in the NIA's office amid the Vazegate scandal involving Sachin Vaze.
As per sources, on March 2, former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma allegedly met the now suspended Mumbai API Sachin Vaze at his CIU office in the afternoon for about one hour. They then allegedly met another senior Mumbai Police official. Later in the evening, Sachin Vaze made Mansukh Hiren meet a lawyer. A letter in the name of Mansukh Hiren was drafted by the lawyer in which he alleges that he was being harassed by Mumbai police officials.
The following day on March 3, Mansukh Hiren was allegedly called to the CIU office, as per sources. He was sitting in the visiting room when arrested accused constable Vinayak Shinde entered and sat next to him. Around 4 pm, a bar owner came to the CIU office. His statement has been recorded by the NIA. In his statement, the bar owner said that he had gone to the CIU office to hand over an alleged “hafta” amount. He had reached the CIU office around 4 pm and was there till 6:30 pm. The bar owner told NIA he saw Mansukh Hiren who was being called into Sachin Vaze's office multiple times.
The owner has also revealed that he saw another officer of the Crime Branch Unit sitting with Vaze when Mansukh had returned. They were allegedly trying to convince him (Hiren) to take responsibility for the explosives-laden car that was found outside Mukhesh Ambani's residence. According to the bar owner (Republic has withheld his name for confidentiality purposes,) Mansukh went in Vaze's office at least 7-8 times. Two other senior officers had come in later who tried convincing Mansukh Hiren. Later in the evening, the bar owner saw Manuskh coming out of Vaze's office. He says Mansukh was irritated and was muttering that he did not want to take up the responsibility.
On March 4, Pradeep Sharma and Sachin Vaze allegedly met once again, sources have revealed. The NIA suspects that they met in western suburbs (Andheri – Marol – Chakala). There were other police officials who were also present during the meeting. The NIA had taken Sachin Vaze to these areas for recreation on April 3.
Former police officer Pradeep Sharma was a part of Mumbai Police's encounter squad which Sachin Vaze and other officers were also a part of. The former encounter cop quit the Mumbai Police in 2019 after having served for over 30 years following which he joined the Shiv Sena and contested where he lost in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections from the Nalasopara constituency. Previously suspended from service owing to corruption allegations, he was reinstated back into service in 2017 after he was cleared of all charges.