Hiran murder: Arrested Mumbai cops, bookie part of Vaze’s larger conspiracy, says NIA
Mumbai Police officers Sunil Mane and Riyazuddin Kazi, former cop Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Gor were part of main accused Sachin Vaze’s alleged larger conspiracy to eliminate Thane auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiran, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has claimed.
The federal agency made the claim while opposing Gor’s bail plea on Friday and stated that the SIM cards used by Vaze were provided by the bookie. Also, the mobile phone through which Hiran was called was purchased by Vaze and the SIM in it was provided by Gor, said NIA.
The federal agency further claimed that if released, Gor may jump the bail and tamper with the evidence.
Gor has approached the special NIA court for bail, claiming that he was never contacted by Vaze, an assistant Mumbai Police inspector, who is under suspension.
Gor in his bail plea filed through law firm, Diamondwala & Co, has claimed that he has been made a scapegoat by the investigating agency at the instance of Vaze. He has also claimed that he was not aware of any conspiracy or the purpose for which the SIM cards were going to be used.
The 31-year-old cricket bookie was arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad on March 21, when it was investigating Hiran’s murder case. Later, his custody was handed over to NIA, as the federal agency took over the case from ATS.
According to NIA, Hiran’s murder was linked to the explosive-laden Scorpio found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s south Mumbai residence Antilia. On February 25, the Scorpio was found abandoned near Antilia with 20 loose gelatin sticks and a threatening note, and a case was registered with Gamdevi police station on the same day.
Vaze was originally investigating the case, but was removed after reports emerged of his links with Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV and had reported it stolen on February 17. Hiran was found dead in a creek on March 5. It subsequently emerged that Vaze had borrowed the car in November and returned it on February 5.
NIA took over the explosives case on March 8 and Vaze was arrested on March 13. The federal agency took over the murder case on March 24 and Vaze was named the main accused in both the cases.
To contain the damage, the Maharashtra government transferred police commissioner Param Bir Singh for his alleged management of the case. He subsequently wrote a letter to the chief minister alleging that the then home minister Anil Deshmukh had instructed Vaze and some other Mumbai Police officers to extort ₹100 crore from bars and restaurants, hookah parlours. When no action was forthcoming, Singh approached the courts.
The Bombay high court eventually asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the matter, prompting Deshmukh’s resignation. Accordingly, CBI conducted an inquiry and registered an offence against Deshmukh on April 21.