A Thane court has rejected the interim bail application plea of Maharashtra Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who has been under probe for the mysterious death of businessman Mansukh Hiran. He was also summoned today by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
The police had traced an explosive-laden SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence last month to the auto parts dealer, whose body was found in a Thane creek earlier this month. His wife alleged that the vehicle was lent out to the cop for four months till February 5, a few days after which it was reported stolen. While the NIA is on the case of the threat to Mr Ambani, the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is looking into the trader’s death and the car’s theft.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and leader of the opposition, Devendra Fadnavis, had on Tuesday demanded Mr Vaze’s arrest for his suspected link to Mr Hiran’s death.
Mr Vaze filed his anticipatory bail plea yesterday at the Thane district sessions court. He termed the case filed against him “baseless and without any motive” and a “witch-hunt”. He further claimed that at the time when Mr Hiran went missing and was allegedly killed, he was at Dongri in South Mumbai.
“It is trite law that a bald suspicion of the first informant regarding the commission of a crime cannot justify arrest of a citizen,” his plea said, according to a PTI report.
The court, however, refused him any interim relief, observing that Mr Hiran was found to have spent time with the Mr Vaze on February 27 and February 28. The body was discovered on March 4.
“The custodial interrogation of applicant is necessary,” the court said, adding that the ATS investigating officer’s say in the matter is required, for which the hearing will now take place on March 19.
The NIA, meanwhile, summoned him today to its office to question him in connection to the case involving the threat to the Ambani family. Later in the day, the ATS, too, reached NIA office.
On February 25, the Scorpio was found near Mr Ambani’s south Mumbai residence with explosives and a threat letter inside. The police traced the vehicle back to Mr Hiran, but he claimed it had been stolen a week earlier. The case got murkier when he himself was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5. His wife then accused Mr Vaze of being involved in his death.
On Wednesday, the officer, who had earlier joined the Shiv Sena during a period of suspension from service, was moved out of the Mumbai crime branch to the Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) at the police headquarters.
The ATS has recorded Mr Vaze’s statement earlier this week, in which he has denied using the SUV.