Mumbai: A day after the BJP demanded the arrest of assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze in the Mansukh Hiran death case, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced in the state council on Wednesday that the police officer had been transferred from the Crime Intelligence Unit. However, the opposition continued to press for his arrest. After the announcement of his transfer, Vaze was locked in a more than 2.5-hour long meeting with Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the guilty in the Mansukh Hiran death case would be punished, but Vaze should not be targeted until his alleged involvement had been established. ‘‘Sachin Vaze is not Osama bin Laden. It is not right to target a person and hang him and then investigate,” he added.
‘‘Let the probe be completed. The guilty, whoever they are, will not be spared,” said Thackeray, during an interaction with reporters after the end of the Budget session of the Maharashtra legislature.
Hiran, who was in possession of the vehicle which was later found with explosives outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25, was found dead in a creek in Thane last week. His wife has made allegations against Vaze in her statement.
On Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis’s claim that Vaze was a member of Thackeray’s party, Thackeray said the police officer had become a member of the Shiv Sena in 2008 and had not renewed his membership subsequently. ‘‘Now he has nothing to do with the Shiv Sena,” he added.
The CM further added, ‘‘Dadra & Nagar Haveli administrator Praful Kheda Patel, who has been named in the suicide note of MP Mohan Delkar, too was with the BJP earlier.”
He said the state government had sought the Call Detail Record (CDR) in the Hiran case, which Fadnavis possesses.
However, Fadnavis said the state government had decided to transfer Vaze under pressure. ‘‘Vaze does not need an advocate to defend him, as for that, he already has Advocate Uddhav Thackeray,’’ he claimed.
He went on to slam the state government for the deteriorating law and order situation, saying that the latter had miserably failed on that front.
On the state government’s decision to launch a SIT probe in the death of the Dadra & Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar, Thackeray denied the BJP’s allegation that Mumbai Police was conducting an investigation in order to deflect attention from Vaze’s complicity in the Hiran case.
‘‘The FIR in the Delkar case was filed after a complaint was received from his family members. We are not indulging in politics,” he said.
Thackeray said the decision on the imposition of a fresh lockdown would be taken only after reviewing the ground situation across the state. ‘‘We will review the situation in the next few days and take a decision,’’ he said.
As reported by The Free Press Journal, at the Cabinet meeting last Sunday, Thackeray had warned that amid rising Covid-19 cases, the government would be forced to consider imposition of a fresh lockdown as a last option. He and his cabinet had expressed serious concern over the spurt in cases and had decided to ramp up tracing, testing and treatment.
The district collectors have already announced partial lockdowns or night curfews, based on the situation in their respective districts.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has not yet taken a call on a lockdown, although Mumbai District Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh said that night clubs and beaches would have to be closed to avoid crowding.