Sachin Vaze, Mumbai police officer arrested in abandoned vehicle case, to remain in NIA custody until April 3

Published : March 25, 2021 19:44 IST

Sachin Vaze being taken to court by National Investigation Agency officers for a hearing in the abandoned vehicle case, in Mumbai on March 25. Photo: MITESH BHUVAD/PTI

Sachin Vaze, suspended Assistant Police Inspector who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the case involving the detection of an abandoned vehicle near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence, will remain in the agency’s custody until April 3, said an order of a court in Mumbai. A search of the vehicle yielded explosives, and it was found to have a fake number plate. On March 24, Vaze was charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which permits the NIA to seek his custody for 30 days instead of the otherwise stipulated 14 days.

Sachin Vaze, who appeared in court on March 25, told the judge that he had nothing to do with the case, that he was being framed, and that he had been made a scapegoat in a larger plan. A known “encounter specialist”, Vaze has been linked to the conspiracy behind the abandoned vehicle. Besides, reports on the investigation suggest that he destroyed evidence such as CCTV footage from various locations where his movement may have been tracked before the vehicle was found.

However, the most incriminating information has been his connection with the murder of Mansukh Hiran, who was apparently the owner of the vehicle. Sachin Vaze had allegedly hired the vehicle a few months ago. This discovery led the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) to hold him as a suspect in the murder of Hiran. A few days ago, the police said, five more vehicles were discovered with connections to Sachin Vaze. Evidence collected from several locations and the vehicles were being examined by forensic experts.

Sachin Vaze refuted the NIA and ATS accusations in court. He told the judge he was the investigating officer for one and a half days and did what was required to investigate the case. He pointed out that all crime branch officers in the Mumbai Police did what was required of them to pursue the investigation.