Sachin Vaze faces terror charges, NIA takes over Hiren case too
Mumbai, March 24, 2021
In a major development in the SUV case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has slapped charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against the arrested-suspended Mumbai Police Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, officials said on Wednesday.
"The agency has added the sections of the UAPA against Vaze, who was arrested on March 13 in connection with Scorpio SUV with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat note, parked near Antilia, the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani," an NIA official linked with the probe told IANS.
Billed as a prime accused, Vaze, a former "encounter specialist", was arrested for his role in the case and sent to NIA custody till March 25.
The NIA had taken over the SUV case probe on March 3 after notification from the Central government.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is probing the businessman Mansukh Hiren's death in the same case, was planning to seek Vaze's custody on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the ATS had announced that it had cracked the Hiren case with the arrest of two persons and was in the process of winding up the probe into the mystery death of Hiran, whose body was recovered from the Thane Creek wetlands on March 5.
However, at a hearing this afternoon, Thane Chief Judicial Magistrate P. P. Ingale directed the ATS to hand over to the NIA all the case papers pertaining to the Hiren death case, as per the Centre's directives.
After hearing all sides, the CJM said in her order: "In the present case, the police officers of ATS shall not proceed with the investigation in this crime and transmit all relevant documents and records to the concerned NIA officer without delay."
The NIA was represented by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh who submitted to the court that the Union Home Ministry had directed the Central agency to take over the case from the ATS on March 20.
Representing the ATS, Additional Public Prosecutor Anita R. Supare-Deotale argued that the Maharashtra government has not issued any directions on the transfer of the probe to the NIA so far.
The ASG, however, contended that the Centre had sent a letter on March 22 to the state Director General of Police who, in turn, informed the state government on March 23 about the transfer of the ATS case to the NIA, which was also confirmed by the ATS Investigating Officer.