Mumbai: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team had taken suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze to Mithi river in Bandra-Kurla Complex on Sunday, from whose depths divers recovered a printer, two CPUs, a laptop, two number plates with the same registration number on them, 2 DVRs, a hard disk and other items. Agency sources suspect that the recovered printer and laptop could be the ones that had been used to print a typed threat letter placed inside the SUV laden with gelatin sticks near Antilia, Carmichael Road residence of Industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25. The seized items have been sent for forensic analysis.
There was a new twist to the case on Monday, after an Aurangabad man, Vijay Madhukar Nade, claimed that the registration plate found in the Mithi river on Sunday belonged to his vehicle which had been stolen in November last year and he had filed an FIR. Nade said he had no idea how the number plate of his stolen vehicle had landed in the river.
In a video, Nade said, “My car, ‘MH-20-FP-1539 T’ was stolen from Chhatrapati Nagar, Aurangabad, on November 16, 2020. On November 17 last year, an FIR was filed at City Chowk police station. The inquiry is going on. I had completed the formalities. I am myself concerned as to how my car went there after being stolen here.
“What can I say about the number plate recovered from the Mithi river?” he asked. “For three months, there was no information but on Sunday, I learnt about it,” Nade said.
In another development, it has emerged that the owner of one of the vehicles which was being used by Vaze was reportedly also known to a former police officer from Thane Police, who had earlier served in the Mumbai Police too. Sources claimed that the NIA might question the former cop.
Last Thursday, NIA officials had taken Vaze to Reti Bunder in Mumbra, where Mansukh Hiran’s body had been found on March 5.
The NIA, which has taken over both the Ambani security scare case as well as the Hiran death probe, has got further custody of Vaze till April 3.
On March 24, the agency had taken into its custody convicted police constable Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Gor in the Hiran case, from the ATS. An ATS team had seized a printer from Shinde’s residence in Kalwa last week and arrested him in connection with the murder of Mansukh Hiran. The recovered printer had been sent for forensic analysis to ascertain whether it had been used to print the threat letter in the SUV.
Vaze, who is accused of destroying the evidence in connection with the Antilia bomb scare case and was arrested on March 13, was taken by the NIA team to Mithi river, where he had reportedly disposed of vital evidence. The NIA team video-recorded the entire process. A team of 11 divers were involved in the search operation, who, in the span of few hours, recovered the gadgets believed to have been used in the crime, including a printer.
“A person who has committed an offence would make all efforts to dispose of the evidence, like Vaze has done in this case, hence we strongly suspect that the printer and laptop recovered from the river were the ones used to type and print the threat letter. Forensic analysis will clear all doubts,” said an investigator.
Meanwhile, the NIA has also taken custody of the Volvo seized by the ATS recently, during the Mansukh Hiran death probe case.
Hiran had claimed that his Scorpio had been stolen a week before it was found on Carmichael Road. He was later found dead in Thane, on March 5. His death was being probed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), until the MHA handed over the probe to the NIA on March 21.