Suspended police officer Sachin Vaze, who was arrested last week in Mumbai for allegedly planting an explosives laden car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s mansion, has been “singing about many things” but they are irrelevant to the case, a senior National Investigation Agency (NIA) official said.
The official said more arrests were likely in the case.
NIA arrested Mr. Vaze, an assistant police inspector (API) on March 13 under various charges of forgery, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and the Explosives Act.
“He knows where to draw silence, it is understandable, that is his right. He is not sharing relevant information pertaining to the case but otherwise talks a lot. His actions are rogue but he was not acting in thin air, we have to unearth the entire conspiracy,” said the official.
The official said that the NIA was so far not investigating the mysterious death of Mansukh Hiran, the last occupant of the Scorpio car that was found near Ambani mansion ‘Antilia’ on February 25. The case is being probed by Maharashtra Police.
The explosives case was transferred to the NIA on March 8 from the Maharashtra Police.
The Mumbai Crime Branch officer, who is a former member of the Shiv Sena, in his previous stint as a police officer has been accused of custodial killing. He has been under suspension since 2004 and was reinstated in June 2020 by the Maharashtra government.
Twenty pieces of unassembled gelatin sticks were found in the car. A typed letter in broken English recovered from the car addressed to “nITA bHABI aur mKESH bhyya aur fEMILI” (Nita Ambani, Mukesh Ambani and family) said this was “just a trailer”. The letter warned that the next time there would be a bomb.
The letter is now in the possession of the NIA.
The NIA had on March 16 recovered a black colour Mercedes Benz car used by Mr. Vaze. From the car, the number plate of the Scorpio car (that was abandoned near Ambani mansion), more than ₹5 lakh cash, a note counting machine, and some clothes were recovered.
The car was often seen parked near the Mumbai Police headquarters compound. “It is a huge area, anyone can park the car there,” the NIA official said, when asked if any other senior officer of Mumbai police was aware about the vehicle.
Hiran’s wife Vimla had told the Maharashtra Police that her husband was in touch with Mr. Vaze and it was the latter who was using the vehicle that was found near the Ambani mansion on February 25.
Hiran had told the police that the Scorpio was stolen from Airoli-Mulund Bridge on February 18.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had informed the State Assembly on March 5 that Hiran was not the owner of the car and that the real owner had handed it over to Hiran for some interior work.
According to the Thane Police, Hiran, who was in the vehicle spare parts business, left his shop around 8.30 p.m. on March 4 in an autorickshaw and his phone was switched off since. His family then lodged missing person complaint. His body was recovered from the creek area on March 5.