Dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze placed an explosives-laden car outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in a bid to “reclaim his clout as the ace detective/encounter specialist”, the National Investigation Agency alleged in its chargesheet, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The agency filed the chargesheet in the Ambani bomb scare case. The NIA took over the case from the Maharashtra Police on March 8 after orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
An SUV with 20 gelatin sticks was found on February 25 near Ambani’s multi-storey home. The police had said that the car was stolen from Airoli-Mulund Bridge on February 18. The car’s owner, Mansukh Hiren, an auto parts dealer, was found dead on March 5 in Kalwa creek.
The NIA arrested Vaze on March 13 and he was dismissed from service in May.
In the chargesheet filed before a special court in Mumbai last week, the NIA said Vaze was involved in the conspiracy to regain his lost reputation. In 2004, he was suspended for 17 years after being arrested for the custodial death of 27-year-old software engineer Khwaja Yunus. Known as an “encounter specialist” in the Mumbai Police, Vaze was later granted bail after 58 days in custody. He was reinstated by the Mumbai Police in June 2020.
The over 10,000-page chargesheet filed by the investigating agency said Vaze had himself parked the car outside Ambani’s home, adding that Hiren was later killed by hired assassins, Live Law reported. Vaze thought Hiren was a “weak link” in the conspiracy, the chargesheet added.
The NIA said Vaze had asked Hiren to file a missing complaint about the SUV so that he could use his car for the crime. Vaze tried to make it look like Hiren may have died by suicide, the chargesheet said.
The agency said Vaze wanted “to make huge monetary gains from the entire conspiracy”. For executing this, he used the money he collected through extortion when he was in service.
Vaze has accused former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of asking him to extort over 100 crores from owners of bars and restaurants, according to a statement the suspended police officer had submitted to a special NIA court in April.
“The intent was clearly to terrorise wealthy and prosperous individuals and also to extort money by putting them in fear of dire consequences,” the chargesheet said. “The post on Telegram channel Jaish-ul-Hind appears to be a deliberate attempt to add credibility to the above-said act of terror, and the murder of Mansukh Hiren was a direct outcome of the said act of terror.”
To mislead the officials investigating the case, Vaze had posted a message on Telegram app purportedly showing that terror outfit Jaish-ul-Hind has claimed responsibility for planting the explosives-laden car, The Times of India reported.
The NIA has cited the statements of 178 witnesses in the case and booked other arrested accused in the case under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act.
Those arrested in the case are Vinayak Shinde, Naresh Gor, Riyazuddin Kazi, Sunil Mane, Anand Jadhav, Satish Mothkuri, Manish Soni and Santosh Shelar. Shinde, Kazi and Mane are former police officers.