Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case:

On February 25, 2021, a Scorpio SUV vehicle with fake license plates filled with 20 gelatin sticks, each weighing around 125 grams, and a purported threat letter was found parked on Carmichael Road near Antilia, business tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s high-rise residence in south Mumbai, on February 25.

The owner of the car, Mansukh Hiren, who had filed a police complaint about the SUV being stolen was later found dead on March 5, 2021. The leader of the opposition of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis claimed that Mansukh Hiren’s wife suspects that Sachin Vaze killed her husband. Hiran’s wife had claimed that her husband had given the SUV to assistant police inspector Waze in November, which the officer returned in the first week of February.

Fadnavis also claimed that the last known location of Mansukh Hiren’s phone was near Shiv Sena leader Dhananjay Gawde’s office. Three days before his death, Mansukh Hiren had written a letter, accusing the police of harassment. He was found dead in a creek near Thane on March 5, 2021.

A murder case has now been registered into the mysterious death of Mansukh Hiren, whose SUV laden with gelatine sticks was found abandoned near the house of Mukesh Ambani.

Quoting the statement of Mansukh Hiren’s wife, Fadvanis said that Vaze, who was initially appointed as the investigating officer in the case pertaining to recovery of explosives near Mukesh Ambani’s house, was in possession of the car for four months.

The case was being probed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) led by Jaijeet Singh. ATS registered a murder case into the SUV owner’s death. The case was being probed as ‘accidental death’ but later on, converted to one of murder followed by a complaint by the deceased wife. The complaint about alleged criminal conspiracy, murder, and attempts to destroy evidence has been lodged against ‘unidentified persons.’ Later, Fadnavis made sensational disclosure about call data records pertaining to Waze and Hiran, which showed that the two were in touch.

The Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday asked the NIA to take over the probe, barely after Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh informed the state Legislative Assembly on the status of the cases pertaining to the abandoned SUV and the murder of its owner Mansukh Hiren.

Sachin Waze:

Sachin Hindurao Vaze (born 22 February 1972) was a police officer of the Maharashtra Police Force of India. Vaze was an “encounter specialist” with the Mumbai Encounter Squad and was involved with the deaths of as many as 63 alleged criminals.

and later reinstated in June 2020. On 3 March 2004, Sachin Vaze was suspended along with 14 other policemen on murder charges on the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus, a suspect in the December 2, 2002, Ghatkopar bomb blast case. He was suspended for 17 years after being arrested in the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus but was granted bail. He subsequently resigned from the police on 30 November 2007 after requests for his reinstatement were rejected by the Maharashtra Government. Vaze joined a regional political party Shiv Sena in 2008.

His suspension was revoked by Uddhav Thackeray lead Govt and he was reinstated to Mumbai police on 6 June 2020 due to a shortage of police staff at the height of the Covid19 crisis in Mumbai.

Disclosure by The Former Maharashtra CM: 

Fadnavis demanded that Vaze should be arrested in the Hiren death case. “Why he is not being arrested under Section 201 of IPC (destroying evidence)? Who is defending him?” the former Maharashtra CM said in the state Assembly. “Vaze is being defended as he was a member of a political party. If you don’t do anything about him, you’re giving him a chance to destroy evidence. He should be suspended immediately. If you defend him, doubt may be raised against you too,” he further said.

The crisis-ridden Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray has found itself on the back-foot following a series of frontal attacks by the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis in the Sachin Waze Controversy.

Fadnavis also claimed that the last known location of Mansukh Hiren’s phone was near Shiv Sena leader Dhananjay Gawde’s office. Three days before his death, Mansukh Hiren had written a letter, accusing the police of harassment.

Case Handed Over To NIA:

Vaze applied for interim relief, which was rejected by the Sessions court in Thane. After questioning him for over 12 hours, he was arrested by National Investigation Agency on 13 March for his role and involvement in placing the explosives-laden vehicle near Carmichael Road on February 25. The NIA searched his office and seized documents and electronic devices. They also seized a Mercedes car that was being used by Waze, which contained ₹5 lakh cash, a counting machine, and the original license plates of the Scorpio. An Assistant Police Inspector Riyazuddin Kazi is being investigated who had removed a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) of CCTVs from the housing society in Thane where Waze lived. The Mumbai Police on March 15, suspended Waze following his arrest.

Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis has once again targetted the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state over the alleged connection of police officer and former Shiv Sena leader Sachin Vaze with Mansukh Hiren, the owner of an SUV that was found near the residence of Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani. Hiren, who was a key link in the matter was found dead in a Mumbai suburb days ago.

In fact, after state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh failed to take on Fadnavis in the legislature. CM Thackeray had no option but to first transfer Waze and the shift Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh to an insignificant post. Sources said there was a lack of coordination among constituents of the MVA, and the Aghadi had failed to take on Fadnavis unitedly. 

When Fadnavis made charges against Thackeray over Wize’s link with the Shiv Sena and his dubious business activities, neither Deshmukh nor any Shiv Sena leader stood up in the legislature to defend CM. Deshmukh has the first opportunity to shift Waze on the Monday before last, before the start of the day’s legislative proceedings.

Calling Waze’s arrest an “insult” of the Maharashtra Police, the Shiv Sena alleged that it was being done deliberately. Transport minister and Sena spokesperson Anil Parab strongly defended the government, particularly the CM, saying it was a fact that Waze had joined the Sena. “He had taken VRS from the government job and had joined the Shiv Sena. Nothing wrong in such a decision. We never supported his illegal activities. We are not even remotely associated with his anti-social and illegal activities. Now since he has been arrested, the law will take its course,” parab said.  

Follow Up Action by MVA Government:

When there was uproar in the House and it was found that Fadnavis had more information on the matter than the official briefing received by Deshmukh, the home minister had no option to announce Waze’s transfer for the smooth functioning of the legislature.

A senior cabinet member admitted that Deshmukh had been unable to defend the MVA government, particularly the reinstatement of Waze despite the fact that the police officer faced serious criminal cases.

The NCP minister said that once the case was entrusted to the Anti-Terrorism Squad, there was no monitoring and an impression was created that since Waze was associated with the Sena, there had been no progress in the investigation. The NIA later stepped in and arrested Waze.

Mumbai cop Sachin Waze, arrested in the probe into recovery of explosives from a car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence, has confessed his role in the case. Vaze, an assistant police inspector with the Mumbai Police, was arrested by the NIA on Saturday in connection with the case. He was arrested by the agency after 12 hours of grilling.

Sources told India TV that Waze was involved in placing gelatin sticks in the SUV that was found parked near Ambani’s multi-story residence ‘Antilia’ on February 25, and that when he was questioned about it, he admitted his involvement.

Waze has been arrested under IPC sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) 465 (forgery), 473 (making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc with intent to commit forgery), 506(2) (punishment for criminal intimidation), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.

In a major damage-control move after the National Investigation agency arrested assistant police Inspector Sachin Waze last week, CM Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday March 17, transferred Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh s DG (director-general), home guards, considered an insignificant posting. Hemant Nagrale has been appointed as the new police commissioner of Mumbai.

NCP had insisted in two meetings this week with the CM that Singh be shunted out immediately in the wake of the explosives case and Mansukh Hiran murder controversy, but some Sena leaders felt that instead of the MVA government “surrendering” to the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis the transfer and overall reshuffle should take place during the routine police transfers in April-May. However, the NCP’s view prevailed.

A senior bureaucrat told it appeared that both the CM and state home minister Anil Deshmukh (of NCP) had not taken the disclosure as seriously as they should have, resulting in an embarrassment not only for CM Thackeray but also for NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the architect of the MVA government

“During the entire episode, by and large, Deshmukh and the state home department appeared to be in the dark, while Fadnavis has the full details of the case,” the bureaucrat said.

“There is something fishy and hence the case has been taken over by the NIA. We will ensure that whatever is fishy is exposed,” said Thackeray.

It surfaced recently that Hiren had written a letter to Thackeray, saying that the questioning by various agencies had disturbed his peace of mind.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday, March 17, made several explosive claims in connection with the mystery SUV case. Addressing a press conference, Fadnavis said that arrested police officer Sachin Vaze was just a “small fish” in a big conspiracy, further prompting investigating agencies to probe his “political bosses”.