National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigators have found that suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze had asked the Vikhroli Police to stop its investigation in the car theft case lodged by Mansukh Hiran on February 18.
The NIA officials visited a five-star hotel at Nariman Point and took the digital video recorder (DVR) of the hotel. CCTV footage, officials said, shows Sachin Vaze walking with two bags. NIA has reasons to believe that Vaze had been using fake identity documents, with which he booked rooms for himself in upmarket hotels in Mumbai.
Sachin Vaze had also contacted the senior police inspector of Vikhroli police station on February 18 and instructed him to stop their investigation in the Scorpio theft case lodged by Mansukh Hiran. This was two days after the Scorpio car was found 500 meters from Antilla, the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
“It looks like Vaze got the investigation of the case transferred to the crime branch as he wanted to destroy all the evidence. He was bent on stopping other policemen from conducting their investigation. He made the call to Vikhroli Police to make sure that his involvement in the case doesn’t come out,” said a senior IPS officer.
After Vaze’s call, Vikhroli Police had stopped pursuing the case as it had been handed over to the CIU.
The NIA now seeks to probe who all met Vaze during his hotel stay and the mode of payment for the stay. NIA officials have learnt that Vaze had used a fake Aadhaar card, which carried a fictitious name but had his own photograph. Sources revealed that NIA has seized the photocopy of the Aadhaar card that Waze had submitted at the hotel.
ATS searches godown linked to Vaze
Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which has arrested two persons — former constable Vinayak Shinde (51) and cricket bookie Naresh Gaur (31) in the murder case of Mansukh Hiren — carried out searches at different locations, including an automobile company’s godown and office in Thane and Bhiwandi.
An ATS source revealed that Sachin Vaze was the director of the automobile company, but had resigned a few months ago.
Searches were carried out at the automobile company’s office in Thane and their godown in Bhiwandi. The ATS also conducted search operations at a shop attached with the company.
ATS officials suspect that Hiren may have been killed at one of these locations.
The ATS has also detained a person from Gujarat in the Mansukh Hiren murder case as Gaur, the cricket bookie, had procured 14 SIM cards from the detainee. An officer said, “We are trying to ascertain to whom Gaur supplied these illegally procured SIM cards”.