A mysterious woman is the latest twist in the swirling Antilia affair; sources in the National Investigation Agency claim that a woman was seen in the CCTV footage of a posh South Mumbai hotel, reportedly carrying a device, suspected to be a note counting machine, and heading towards the room where suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze was staying.
NIA sources also claimed that Vaze reportedly had five bags with him during his stay in the hotel from February 16 to 20 last month. The agency has asked the suspended API about the whereabouts of those bags and the mysterious woman seen in the footage.
The agency has also come across information that Vaze had used a fake Aadhaar card in the name of one Sushant Khamkar to check into the hotel.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Tuesday, meanwhile, made it clear that they would continue their probe in the Mansukh Hiren murder case and press for Vaze’s custody in connection with the alleged crime.
The ATS has made its position clear three days after the NIA stated that it had received orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to investigate Hiren's death.
"Sachin Vaze, who is our suspect in the Hiren murder case, is currently in the custody of NIA till March 25. Since Vaze's custodial interrogation is very important in Hiren's case, we had sought a transfer warrant from the concerned court in Thane. We had also filed an application in the NIA court seeking Vaze's custody and a hearing in the matter on March 25. After securing Vaze's custody and conducting a thorough inquiry, we are sure that we would get to the bottom of the entire conspiracy," said additional director general of police, ATS, Jaijeet Singh.
According to the ATS, on March 5, Hiren's body was found in a creek in Mumbra and the said case was taken over by them on March 7.
Hiren's wife in her statement had told the ATS that she suspected Vaze's involvement in her husband’s alleged murder. A case of murder was then registered by the police in the matter.
"On March 8 we had recorded Vaze’s statement in the Hiren case and he had categorically denied all allegations. Vaze told us that the Scorpio vehicle (in which gelatin sticks were found) was never in his possession and he never had any contacts with Hiran. Vaze had also stated that he had no role in the murder and had no information with regards to the crime. Our probe later revealed that Vaze had given a false statement," said Singh.
A Gujarat based company has also come under the scanner of the ATS. The investigation into Hiren's death by the ATS has revealed that this company had provided 14 Sim cards to the accused Naresh Gor for hatching the murder conspiracy.
Gor had procured those Sim cards on the instructions of Vaze and had later provided the said Sim cards to Vinayak Shinde, a police constable who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the fake encounter case of Lakhan Bhaiyya of 2007. Among those Sim cards, eight were active and later three of them were damaged along with the mobile phones used in the crime.
Gor and Shinde were arrested by the ATS on March 21.
During the interrogation of Gor and Shinde, the ATS learnt that a Volvo car was also used in the crime after which an ATS team visited Daman and Diu and seized the said car. The sources claimed that the said car belonged to a developer.
Meanwhile, sources privy to the investigations claimed that a diary was found in the searches which were conducted by an NIA team at the CIU office on March 15. The sources claimed that the diary apparently contained details of the cash dealings made by Vaze from November last year. Some of the details in the said diary were coded.