Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who was shunted out of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to a side posting over allegations that he was linked to the murder of Thane-based business Mansukh Hiran, was on Saturday denied interim bail in the case by a Thane court. The court noted that there was prima facie evidence and material against him.
Vaze, who had kept mum on the allegations so far, on Saturday posted a cryptic WhatsApp status that read: "I think the time to say goodbye to the world is coming closer." He also indicated that he was apprehensive of being arrested in the case.
Vaze’s WhatsApp status on Saturday read, "3rd March 2004. Fellow officers from the CID arrested me in a false case. That arrest inconclusive till date. Sensing the history is going to repeat. My fellow officers are on to falsely trap me. There's a slight difference in the scenario. Then probably I had 17 years of hope, patience, life and service too. Now I will have neither 17 year of further life nor service nor patience to live. I think the time to say goodbye to the world is coming closer," (sic).
Vaze was arrested in 2004 in the alleged custodial death of 27-year-old Khwaja Younus, and was suspended for 16 years. He was reinstated in June 2020, with the state government stating it required all available officers on board amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is now facing the heat in the Mansukh Hiran murder case. Hiran, whose body was recovered from Thane creek on March 5, was the `owner’ of the SUV found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence with gelatin sticks and a threat letter in it. Hiran's wife has told the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) that she suspects the cop's involvement in the murder.
Vaze on Friday had moved for anticipatory bail before the Sessions Court in Thane seeking relief. However, the court rejected his application and kept the matter for hearing on March 19. Additional Sessions Judge Shailendra Tambe said Vaze’s custodial interrogation was required. "This court is not agreed to grant interim bail to the applicant (Vaze) because there is prima facie evidence and material against the applicant," the order said.
In his application, Vaze claimed a `witch-hunt’ was on against him and called the allegations “baseless”. In the application, Vaze claimed that when Hiran went missing and was allegedly murdered, he was in Dongri. He also said that there is no incriminating material against him, and that he has not even been named as accused in the case.
Vaze's lawyer A M Kelekar argued that interim protection should be granted as Vaze is cooperating with the investigation. Opposing this, additional public prosecutor Vivek Kadu argued that the case is at a crucial stage.
The court, while taking note of the charges in the FIR said: "The informant (Hiran's wife) has made direct allegations against the applicant in the FIR. Hence, this court has come to the conclusion that the investigation is at initial stage," stated the order.