The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran murder cases, on Friday recorded the statement of the owner of a club in south Mumbai.
As reported earlier by the Free Press Journal, sources said that through convicted police constable and co-accused Vinayak Shinde, suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze came into contact with a person who ran a club in South Mumbai. This club was frequented by gamblers and bookies.
"Vaze had informed the club owner and Shinde to see if they could arrange for a few SIM cards for him. Bookie Naresh Gor then came in their contact, who agreed to get five SIM cards for Vaze, and arranged the same," said a police officer.
The agency had conducted searches at the `social club' located inside a hotel near Babulnath area on Thursday. On Friday, the club owner was seen arriving at the NIA office around 11 am and left around 4.50 pm.
The investigators claimed that Vaze had got four mobile phones arranged through one of his acquaintances. "We strongly suspect it was Vaze who had used a procured SIM card and mobile phone to call Hiran at around 8:29 pm on March 4. We suspect that it was on Vaze's instructions that Hiran had told his family members that he was going to meet one police officer Tawde from Kandivali at Ghodbander road," the officer said.
During investigations, the ATS official had recovered three mobile phones, while the one that was used to make call to Hiran was destroyed by the suspect through an acquaintance. The police had also recovered three SIM cards, while two other sim cards used in the crime were destroyed.
Vaze's former colleagues in the Mumbai crime branch assistant inspectors Riyazuddin Kazi and Prakash Howal also appeared before the NIA. Both have been questioned multiple times.
Meanwhile, Vaze has complained of chest pain and uneasiness to his lawyer. On Thursday, an application was made in the special NIA court for angiography test to be conducted on Vaze. A lawyer who is part of Vaze’s defence team said that Vaze has had heart ailments since 2019, and considering that medical history, the plea was made before the court so that he is examined by a cardiologist.
The application states that presently only two general physicians are visiting him and that he needs to be examined by a specialist. The court on Thursday called a medical report of Vaze to be submitted to it on Saturday when he is due to be produced before the court as his custody with the agency ends.