Antilia bomb scare case: Vaze has joint account, locker with suspect; NIA tells court; he denies

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday sought six days further custody of suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze in the Antilia bomb scare - Mansukh Hiran murder case and told the court that its probe has found that he held a joint account and locker with an accomplice in DCB Bank’s Versova Branch.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said this account was operated by the said suspect, whose name it did not reveal, on March 18, when Vaze was in its custody after his arrest on March 13. “Incriminating material was swiped out of it,” Singh said, adding that on March 30, when it searched the locker, only some documents were found.

Among the 10 grounds to seek Vaze’s custody, the NIA said a diary was found from a South Bombay club. The diary reflected that Vaze had received a huge amount from the club owner and it needs to be probed why the owner had made such a payment.

The agency also referred to recoveries such as DVR, laptop and CPU made from Mithi river and said it needed to probe these. Further, it said that during house search of co-accused and suspended constable Vinayak Shinde, incriminating documents were found. Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) data showed Vaze moving on March 4, to the scene of offence, it told the court. The NIA said during Vaze’s house search an original passport of a person was found and it needs to be found why it was in Vaze’s home.

Appearing for Vaze, senior advocate Abad Ponda argued that the agency has not made any grounds for an extended custody for offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Custody of 15 days allowed for other offences has already been extinguished, it pointed out. He denied categorically that Vaze had any joint account or locker as alleged by the NIA. “If someone operates such an alleged account when I am in your custody, how can you link me with it,” he argued.

Ponda also called the recoveries from Mithi river “planted” and denied that Vaze gave any disclosure statement. “It is their (NIA’s) own skill and volition,” he told the court. He argued that Mithi river is open and anyone can throw anything into it.

Vaze told the court upon being asked, that he had a cardiac problem and had suffered a stroke on Sunday. When asked by court, the NIA said that it had taken him to hospital and necessary checks including an ECG and 2D Echo had been conducted. To this Vaze’s lawyers told the court that an angiography is required. The NIA told the court that though advised a bypass surgery in 2019, it was not done. Vaze’s lawyers contended that it was not done for various reasons and now the need has arisen for required procedures to be done.

The court remanded Vaze in NIA’s custody till April 7, and directed the agency to submit reports on that day to it, to show if any procedures are required.

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