NIA court extends Sachin Vaze’s custody, permits CBI to grill him
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Wednesday extended custody of suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze till April 9 in connection with his alleged role in parking an explosives-laden car outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence in February. The special court also permitted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to interrogate Vaze in connection with the preliminary probe directed by the Bombay high court (HC) while he is in NIA custody.
The special court also remanded former police constable Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Ramniklal Gor, booked for their role in Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran’s murder case, in judicial custody.
NIA while seeking Vaze’s custody argued that they needed his custody to unearth the cash trail, source of procurement of gelatin sticks which were planted in the car found outside Ambani’s residence as well as the motive behind murder of Hiran.
The agency on Wednesday informed the court that there is ₹1.5 crore in Axis Bank in the name of a company floated by the accused. The agency also claimed that Vaze had given ₹36 lakh and ₹40 lakh to his accomplices. He had also allegedly purchased six high-end vehicles. “We need to know the source of money; was he extorting money for himself or for others? How does an assistant police inspection rank officer have such a huge amount in his account?” the NIA said.
The agency also claimed that it was a deep-rooted terror conspiracy, and hence they have to probe if the money found in Vaze’s account was used to procure the gelatin sticks and where it was sourced from. “More time is required to unearth the cash trail, existing accounts of the accused and whether this money has direct connection with gelatins,” NIA said.
In the Mansukh Hiran murder case, the agency claimed that Vaze and other accused had hatched the conspiracy to eliminate Hiran on March 2 and 3. “Hiran was a co-conspirator in the explosives case and has been eliminated. The accused has direct connection with the case. NIA needs to find motive behind his murder,” the probong agency stated.
Meanwhile, the NIA court on Wednesday allowed CBI to question Vaze in connection with preliminary enquiry initiated on the allegation made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh against former home minister Anil Deshmukh. The CBI team from Delhi approached the special court in connection with the preliminary enquiry directed by the Bombay High court on April 5.