Sachin Vaze a Key Conspirator in Mansukh Hiren’s Murder, Says ATS

Maharashtra ATS chief Jaijeet Singh said that two people arrested in the case have made Vaze’s involvement clear.

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India
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Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze after being produced by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a court following his arrest, on Sunday, 14 March.
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The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Tuesday, 23 March said that it had found former API Sachin Vaze to be the key conspirator in the alleged murder of Mansukh Hiren, the owner of the SUV that was found laden with explosives outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence on 25 February.

Addressing the media, Maharashtra ATS chief Jaijeet Singh said that the two people that have been arrested in the case - Naresh Dhare, a 31-year-old bookie, and Vinayak Shinde, a 55-year-old suspended constable - have made Vaze’s involvement in the matter clear.

“Initially, Vaze had assured that the Scorpio was not in his custody, and that he had no role to play in Mansukh Hiren’s murder. However, during the probe, we arrested another suspended cop Vinayak Shinde who was working under Vaze’s instructions,” Singh said.

How the ATS ‘Traced’ the Accused

“The ATS has found evidence against Vaze in the case. The team conducted a technical analysis of the information obtained in the preliminary investigation and traced the SIM card used in the crime. The SIM card was obtained from a bookie, who runs a club and also involved in betting in Mumbai, at the behest of Sachin Vaze,” Singh said.

The ATS, however, did not specify Vaze’s motive behind the alleged murder. Singh said that it is essential for them to get Vaze’s custody in order to get to the bottom of the case. Vaze is currently in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) till 25 March.

Who are the Two People Arrested?

The two accused were arrested after a preliminary inquiry allegedly revealed that the SIM card traced by the ATS was given to Shinde by Dhare. Shinde had posed as ‘Tawde’ to make a phone call to Hiren and asked him to meet in the Ghodbunder area of Mumbai, the ATS claimed.

Sources in the ATS had earlier told The Quint that Shinde was close to Vaze and had called Hiren posing as ‘Tawde’ from Kandivali Crime Branch on 4 March. Hiren was found dead a day later.

In the FIR registered on 7 March, Hiren’s wife Kamala had alleged that he had left the house after a phone call from a certain police officer named ‘Tawde’.

Shinde had been sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2007 Lakhan Bhaiya fake encounter case and has been on parole since May 2020 as part a bid to decongest jails in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dhare, a bookie, had allegedly helped Shinde get the SIM card registered in Gujarat to make the phone call to Hiren.

The two accused have been taken to the spot to reconstruct the crime scene, the ATS said. Singh said that a Volvo car has also been seized from Daman in connection with the case, and is being analysed by a forensics laboratory in Mumbai.

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