On Sunday, a Special Court has remanded assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze to the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) till March 25, in connection with the recovery of an explosives-laden car found abandoned next to Mukesh Ambani’s residence on February 25.
NIA’s spokesperson said that Vaze was arrested on March 13 at 11.50 pm by the NIA at their Mumbai office, after he was questioned in the case for his “role and involvement in placing explosives-laden vehicle near Carmichael Road.” The NIA produced him before the special NIA court on Sunday afternoon and sought his custody for further investigation.
Additional Sessions Judge PR Sitre heard Special Public Prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves for the NIA and advocate Sudeep Pasbola for Waze, before granting the agency his custody. Journalists were disallowed from attending the proceedings. According to official sources, Special Public Prosecutor, Sunil Gonsalves, cited statements of certain witnesses, to demonstrate Waze was part of the conspiracy. He sought Waze’s custody for 14 days as more arrests were likely.
The prosecution asked for Vaze’s maximum custody for further investigation. The agency pleaded that the case has so far traveled by three agencies- Mumbai Crime Branch, ATS, and later NIA. Hence, they would want to probe the role played by the accused.
The prosecution, however, refused to share the copy of the remand application with the lawyers of Vaze citing privilege and confidentiality.
Vaze’s lawyer Sudeep Passbola objected to it and claimed that the agency has no evidence to implicate the police officer.
Credited with eliminating 63 alleged criminals in ‘encounters’, Waze, a 1990-batch officer of the state cadre, was suspended in 2004 over his role in the custodial death of a 2002 Ghatkopar blast suspect Khwaja Yunus and was reinstated last year.
Waze, who led the team that arrested journalist Arnab Goswami in November last year in a suicide abetment case, had joined Shiv Sena while he was under suspension. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recently said Waze was a member of Shiv Sena till 2008.
Currently, Vaze has been arrested under sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance), 465 (punishment for forgery), 473 (making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc., with intent to commit forgery punishable otherwise), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and the Explosive Substances Act.