Antilia bomb-scare: Sachin Vaze's NIA custody extended till April 7
A special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Mumbai on Saturday extended the agency's custody of suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze until April 7. Vaze was arrested by NIA on March 13 for his alleged role in parking an explosives-laden car near billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai residence, Antilia, in February and Thane-based auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiren's death. Here's more.
NIA sought 6-day extension but court granted 4 days
Seeking an extension of Vaze's custody, the counsel appearing for the NIA told the special court on Saturday that the central agency wasn't merely probing cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) but also several other related cases against him. Although the NIA sought an extension of six days of his custody, the court has granted only a four-day extension.
Vaze booked under UAPA, Explosive Substances Act, IPC Sections
Vaze has been arrested under Sections 286 (Negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance), 465 (Punishment for forgery), 473 (Making or possessing counterfeit seal), 506(2) (Criminal intimidation), and 120 B (Criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). He is also charged under Section 4(a)(b)(I) (Attempt to cause an explosion) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, and Sections 16 and 18 of the UAPA.
NIA likely to seek Vaze's custody for longer for investigation
Vaze has been in NIA's custody for 22 days so far. While the special court gave only a four-day extension of his custody now—since he is charged under the UAPA—the NIA can detain him for up to 30 days. The UAPA allows the accused to be remanded to police custody for up to 30 days—as opposed to 15 days under the criminal law.
Vaze was initially investigating case relating to Antilia bomb scare
To recall, on February 25, an abandoned Mahindra Scorpio with 20 gelatin sticks and a letter threatening the Ambanis was found parked near Antilia. Vaze, who was an Assistant Police Inspector with Mumbai Police, was initially the investigating officer of the case. The Scorpio was registered in Hiren's name, but he filed a police complaint on February 18 alleging that the car was stolen.
Hiren found dead on March 5; wife alleged Vaze's involvement
On March 5, Hiren was found dead in Mumbai's Kalwa Creek. His wife alleged Vaze was involved in her husband's murder and claimed the police officer was using the Scorpio between November 2020 and February 2021. After interrogation, Vaze was arrested on March 13. According to NIA, he was arrested for his "role and involvement in placing explosives-laden vehicle near Carmichael Road (near Antilia)."
NIA seized 7 vehicles, raided eatery as part of probe
So far, the NIA seized as many as seven vehicles, including the explosives-laden Scorpio near Antilia, as part of its probe. The central agency also raided a prominent eatery located in South Mumbai after learning that Vaze used to hold many of his meetings there.