Maharashtra govt removes cop Sachin Vaze from Ambani probe

Rahul M
·3-min read
Police encounter specialist Sachin Vaze in 2006. Photo: Vikas Khot/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Police encounter specialist Sachin Vaze in 2006. Photo: Vikas Khot/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday announced the removal of Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze from the Crime Branch till the inquiry into the mysterious death of automobile parts dealer Mansukh Hiren is not completed.

Sachin Vaze, who was part of the probe into the explosives recovered from the car found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence will be posted to a different department.

While making the announcement in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Deshmukh said the state government will conduct an impartial probe into the death of Mansukh Hiren.

'Police officer Sachin Vaze will be removed from his current posting in the Crime Branch till the investigation is not completed. I am taking this decision in view of the rising demand from the Opposition,' the minister said.

Mansukh Hiren was in possession of the SUV which was found with explosives outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house in south Mumbai on February 25.

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Police said the vehicle was stolen from Hiren's possession on February 18. The mystery deepened after Hiren's body was found in a creek last Friday in neighbouring Thane.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has filed a murder case against unidentified people, in connection with the death of Mansukh Hiren, the man whose explosives-laden vehicle was found outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence.

Forty-five-year-old Hiren was found dead on the banks of a creek along near Mumbai on 5 March.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the recovery of explosives from the car near Antilia has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency. The agency took over the case from the ATS and has begun its probe and on Wednesday, visited the spot where the vehicle was found, reported ANI.

Controversy Over Vaze

Vaze has become a bone of contention between the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the BJP-led Opposition in Maharashtra, ever since he took over the investigation of the case regarding explosives being recovered outside Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai residence.

In an FIR registered on 7 March, Hiren’s family has levelled serious allegations against Vaze and accused him of his murder.

Vimala, Hiren’s wife, has alleged in the FIR that Vaze was involved in the alleged conspiracy to frame her husband and has allegedly murdered him.

Fadnavis Demands Vaze’s Suspension, Arrest

The Maharashtra Assembly was rocked on Thursday over Vaze’s alleged association with Hiren, with Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis demanding his immediate suspension and arrest in the case.

“Why he is not being arrested under Section 201 of IPC (destroying evidence)? Who is defending him?” Fadnavis asked.

Quoting the statement of Hiren's wife, Fadvanis says Vaze was in possession of the suspected car (in which explosive were found) for 4 months.

While the BJP MLAs raised slogans of “Ye sarkar khooni hai,” Fadnavis said: “Sachin Vaze is being defended as he was member of a political party. If you don't do anything about him, you are giving him a chance to destroy evidence. He should be suspended immediately. If you defend him, doubts may be raised against you too.”

Leader of Opposition in the Council Pravin Darekar and other opposition members too expressed dissatisfaction over the government's decision.

'Vaze is in some way involved in the death of Mansukh Hiren. He should face legal action and should be suspended at once,' Darekar said.

BJP MLCs Gopichand Padalkar and Darekar sought to know Deshmukh's stand on Vaze and why the police officer was being 'protected' by the state.

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