The Mumbai Police on Monday suspended Crime Branch officer Sachin Vaze, a day after he was sent to the National Investigation Agency’s custody in connection with the inquiry into the explosive-laden car found outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence last month, PTI reported.
“API [Assistant Police Inspector] Sachin Waze has been placed under suspension by an order of Additional Commissioner of Police Special Branch,” Deputy Commissioner of Police S Chaitanya was quoted as saying by the news agency.
The NIA had arrested Vaze on Saturday night after questioning him for several hours about his alleged links with Mansukh Hiren, the reported owner of the SUV that was found outside Ambani’s house Antilia. Hiren was found dead near Mumbai on March 5.
The NIA said that Vaze was arrested for his role in placing the explosives-laden vehicle at Carmichael road, which is close to Ambani’s residence. The police officer was produced before a court on Sunday, which sent him to NIA’s custody till March 25.
Vaze had on Saturday accused his colleagues of falsely implicating him in the case.
Vaze, who was the Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s assistant police inspector, had been the lead investigator in the case before it was transferred to the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Mumbai Police, and later to the NIA. He was transferred from the Crime Branch on March 10 after allegations of his association with Hiren came to light.
Twenty gelatin sticks were recovered from a black Scorpio found less than two kilometres from Ambani’s multi-storey home Antilia on February 25. The police had said that the gelatin recovered from the car was the commercial type that is used in mining and construction and not military grade.
The NIA took over the investigation in the case last week. Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Squad filed a murder case in connection with Hiren’s death
Vaze on BJP’s ‘hit list’, alleges Shiv Sena
The Shiv Sena on Monday alleged that Vaze was on the “hit-list” of the Bharatiya Janata Party since he had arrested Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the Anvay Naik suicide case.
In an editorial its mouthpiece Saamna, the party said that the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad were capable of taking action against Vaze. Shiv Sena accused the Centre of interfering in the matters of Maharashtra government by handing the case to the NIA.
“The NIA’s intervention in the case was not needed needed so soon,” Shiv Sena said in the editorial. “But the Centre jumps in at any chance to create hurdles in any case in Maharashtra.”
Shiv Sena asked why the central agency did not focus on bigger cases. “How did explosives penetrate inside Pulwama and kill 40 soldiers?” the party asked. “This still remains a secret. Arms and ammunition continue to move along the Bihar-Nepal border. The situation on the Manipur-Myanmar border also remains serious. But the NIA doesn’t even go there.”