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Extortion case: Sachin Vaze To Remain In Police Custody Till Nov 15; Co-accused Param Bir Still Absconding

The woes of dismissed cop Sachin Vaze continued on Saturday as a holiday court extended his Mumbai Police custody until November 15 in an extortion case. 

Image: PTI

The woes of dismissed cop Sachin Vaze continued on Saturday as a holiday court extended his Mumbai Police custody until November 15 in an extortion case. Builder-cum-hotelier Bimal Agrawal had alleged that the accused persons including Vaze extorted Rs. 9 lakh from him for not conducting a raid on two bars and restaurants and forced him to buy two smartphones worth around Rs.2.92 lakh for them. The Goregaon Police Station registered an FIR under Sections 34, 120B, 201, 384, 385, 388 and 389 of the Indian Penal Code for the purported incidents that happened between January 2020 and March 2021.

Among the accused, Vaze, Alpesh Patel and Sumit are under arrest whereas former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, Vinay Singh and Riyaz Bhati are absconding. The dismissed cop was arrested on November 1 from the Taloja Central Jail where he is lodged in connection with the Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiren murder case. As Vaze's custody got over today, the Public Prosecutor sought Vaze's custody for two days which was consented to by the defence. During the hearing, the PP also made an application under Section 82 of the CrPC seeking the attachment of the properties of the absconding accused if they don't record their appearance in the next 30 days. The court will hear this application on November 15. 

Involvement in Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiren's death

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 Sachin Vaze of being responsible for her husband's death, ex-Maharashtra CM 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 March 24 after the Thane Sessions Court's order in this regard. Police Inspector Sunil Mane and Assistant Police Inspector Riyazuddin Kazi were also taken into custody during further investigation. Subsequently, Vaze, Mane and Kazi were dismissed from the force by Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale. At present, all the accused persons including former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma are in judicial custody. 

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