Ambani bomb scare: Vaze allegedly took footage from his residential society
Sachin Vaze, the police officer arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the parking of an explosive-laden SUV near billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai, allegedly took away Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and CCTV footage from his residential complex in Thane, said an official on condition of anonymity. He allegedly did so by issuing a letter as the head of the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) but did not show the DVR and the footage as collected evidence in the official record, the official added.
The society wrote a letter to a police station in Thane on March 4, saying it had handed over the footage and DVR to Vaze on February 27 after he asked for it.
“The society secretary, Shashi Nair, wrote the letter to us informing that they had provided the DVR to Mumbai police CIU unit on February 27 after [Vaze] asked for the same for investigation purposes,” said a police officer, who did not want to be named.
Residents of the society said a team of four CIU officers visited their society at 8.30 pm on February 27 and took the entire recorder. Two days later, the society sacked its security contractor.
Vaze’s lawyers have denied knowledge of any such footage. They claimed NIA has not even provided them with a remand copy.
Vaze and his team also allegedly visited a shop in Thane, where fake registration number plates were made. The plates were allegedly used on the two cars that were found tailing the SUV on the night of February 24 in the vicinity of Ambani’s residence. The team allegedly collected the DVR and CCTV footage of the shop located around 500 meters away from that of Mansukh Hiran in Thane, said the official cited above. Vaze has been accused of having a role in the death of Hiran, who was linked to the car found parked outside Ambani’s residence.
It was unclear as to whether this shop footage and DVR were part of the seized material on the record.
A second official privy to the investigation said the Innova car that was tailing the SUV picked up its driver. The SUV was abandoned before the Innova entered Mumbai again half an hour later.
“The Innova then again went to the same place where Scorpio was parked as the driver had forgotten something in the SUV. The Innova driver is again seen in CCTV footage at the spot in a PPE [personal protection equipment] kit to hide his identity.”
The official said Vaze, and his team seized DVRs and CCTV footage of many places in Mumbai and Thane during the investigation but many of them were not shown in evidence on record.