Mumbai: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday rejected the contention by suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze who was arrested in the Antilia bomb scare case, that consent was required to arrest him as per a provision in the Criminal Procedure Code.
Special Judge PR Sitre, while pronouncing his decision, called the plea ‘premature’. Vaze’s lawyers had called his arrest illegal and stated that he was not produced within 24 hours of arrest and not given the opportunity to take the opinion of his advocate. The plea also said that his family members were not given the grounds for his arrest. It further said that as per a May 23,1979 notification, consent is required under Sec 45(1) of the CrPC to arrest him.
Special Public Prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves argued before court on Tuesday that protection of sanction is for acts performed in the discharge of official duties and the entire act of the accused does not fall under four corners of discharging official duty. He asked if a submission could be made by Vaze’s lawyers that the acts were in discharge of official duty.
The Free Press Journal had reported on Monday the NIA's remand plea stating that it had found Vaze’s ‘direct involvement’ in the planting of the explosive laden vehicle in Carmichael Road. “The accused used his own government vehicle to escort the explosive-laden SUV and himself drove it to the scene of crime,” the agency had stated.
Judge Sitre, said in his order on Tuesday that it appears from the records that Vaze was arrested on March 13 at 11.50pm and produced before the court at 2.45pm the following day, which meant he had been produced within 24 hours. The court also said that it was an admitted fact that the accused was a police person and knew about his rights. It stated that the station diary clearly reflected that intimation was provided to him and the concerned police station, as also were the grounds of his arrest. The court further relied on an apex court judgment which had stated that the matter of whether the acts were performed in discharge of official duty could not be decided in a summary fashion. The special court thus said that they could be decided at an “appropriate stage” and rejected the plea.
The court on Tuesday also partly allowed the plea of Vaze for his advocate to be present at a visible distance during his interrogation and that he be allowed to take advice in private from his advocate. The NIA objected to the plea of a private meeting with advocate. The court allowed Vaze’s advocate to be present beyond a glass partition, but not at hearing distance. It did not allow him to have private consultation with his advocate during investigation.
The NIA also made a submission on Tuesday that the NIA office in Mumbai is covered by CCTV cameras in the lock-ups, as well as investigation rooms. This was in response to a contention raised by Vaze’s advocates about the lack of CCTV cameras.