Woman seen with Sachin Vaze at five-star hotel in Mumbai was an escort: NIA
The mystery woman seen with dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze at a five-star hotel in south Mumbai in February was allegedly a female escort who was in close contact with him since 2011, the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Antilia explosives scare and Thane trader Mansukh Hiran murder case has revealed. The woman’s statement to NIA also revealed that Vaze had been paying her ₹50,000 every month since August 2020, two months after he was reinstated in service.
The 36-year-old-woman, a resident of Mira Road, is separated from her husband and works as an escort. She told the agency that she met Vaze in 2011 and that he became her client in 2013.
According to the statement, Vaze was thereafter in continuous touch with her. Initially, he had allegedly lied to her saying he was a businessman but later told her that he was a police officer under suspension at the time.
The woman had business relations with Vaze and the two had started two firms in 2016 in the name of the woman’s son. It was allegedly Vaze’s idea to set up firms to deal in rental of electric two-wheelers. As Vaze was not earning well then, he had told her she should put her escort service money and buy some four-wheelers and rent them out to support her.
In 2017, Vaze had allegedly asked the woman to become a director in one of his companies, set up to create a chain of maintenance workshops for two-wheelers and rental franchises.
The woman claimed she invested ₹17 lakh in the company, but due to lack of support from two other partners, the business could not be started. She added that in 2019, Vaze tried to revive the business and changed it to rental of electric two-wheelers. In January-February 2020, Vaze purchased 30 electric scooters for the company at the cost of ₹15 lakh, however the company did not make profits in view of the Covid-19 lockdown.
In June 2020, Vaze asked the woman to stop working as an escort as he was reinstated in service and would earn enough to support her. Following this, Vaze started paying ₹50,000 per month to the woman since August 2020.
The woman was spotted visiting Vaze in a posh south Mumbai hotel on February 18 and 20 this year. NIA questioned her over images preserved on the scanning machines installed at the entrance of the hotel which showed pictures similar to bundles of currency notes.
The woman told NIA that on February 15 she had visited Vaze’s office near Crawford Market and collected ₹40 lakh from him and then returned the same to him on February 18 at the five-star hotel after sorting and removing old notes from the bundles. She further said that Vaze told her to remove notes with 786 in their numbers.
Further, while leaving the hotel on February 19, the woman took ₹36 lakh cash with her and returned it to Vaze the next day.
The agency has found ₹1.5 crore in the bank account of the company in which she was a director. When questions, the woman told the agency that only Vaze could tell who had credited the money in the company’s accounts.
She also failed to give satisfactory answers when questioned about ₹39 lakh in her bank account. She has, however, stated that she was not earning anything from any of the companies formed by her.
The agency has also found that she had removed ₹5 lakh from a bank locker held jointly by her and Vaze on March 18, five days after Vaze’s arrest. The woman allegedly handed the money to her brother, asking hi m to find a good lawyer in case she was arrested. The woman later fled to her hometown Banaras along with her son.
The case against Vaze and nine others pertains to the recovery of the explosives-laden vehicle near Antilia, residence of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, on February 25. A note threatening his family was also recovered from the vehicle. Thereafter on March 5, the body Thane-based auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiran, who owned the said vehicle, was found in a creek at Reti Bunder near Mumbra.
NIA subsequently took over the investigation and arrested Vaze in connection with both cases. Vaze was dismissed from service in May. The investigating agency later also arrested encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma and four others — Santosh Shelar, Anand Jadhav, Manish Soni and Satish Mothukari — in connection with the murder case. The agency claimed that the four accused acted on the instructions of Vaze and others, and allegedly strangled Hiran to death and dumped the body in the creek.