GoaChronicle Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Savio Rodrigues speaks with Shirish Thorat who co-authored the book ‘The Scout – The Definitive Account of David Headley and the Mumbai Attacks’ with Sachin Vaze – a suspended Mumbai Police Officer, who has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with 21 explosives found in a car outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilia.
Sachin Vaze is also being investigated in the death of Mansukh Hiren and allegations of extortion of Rs 100 crores per month from restaurants, bars, and hotels in Mumbai on the order of the Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh as alleged by the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in a Complaint Letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray and in a petition in Supreme Court.
Shirish Thorat had served initially as PSI in Goa Police and then as DySP. He trained in Delhi police Academy and Nashik Police Academy. He currently lives in the US and works as a professional in Security, Risk, and Investigation while also authoring books on global security issues.
Shirish Thorat is also the Director of two companies of the three companies in which Sachin Vaze is also a Director.
GoaChronicle: You have co-authored a book with Suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze titled ‘The Scout – The Definitive Account of David Headley and the Mumbai Attacks’ currently arrested by NIA who is investigating a terror plot linked to Antilia car bomb case with Sachin Vaze as a prime suspect and conspirator? What are your views on Sachin Vaze and this case?
Shirish Thorat: Sachin Vaze has always been mercurial in his temperament and that has resulted in many a setback in his life. He is gifted with an instinctive ability to innovate and has invented/brought out many software tools including CDR analytics, social media platforms/ cybercrime analytics/ encrypted communication systems/ caselaw directory, etc. His knowledge of law and investigations cannot be questioned. Where this case is concerned I am still in a state of bewilderment as to its parameters and range of offenses. It is difficult to believe that the man who has been one of my closest friends for the last 30 years has committed these acts and in so silly a manner.
GoaChronicle: Before the arrest by NIA, Sachin Vaze spoke to you about his predicament with the law? What were his fears and apprehension?
Shirish Thorat: I did speak to Sachin a couple of days prior to his arrest. He was apprehensive that he would be taken into custody very soon. He did request me to keep calling because it was a source of comfort to him. He told me in Marathi: Ataah He Loka Sagla Majyawar Takoon Malaa Uchalnaar…Magchya Vele Saarkha.
GoaChronicle: Sachin Vaze was suspended for 16-years from the police force in the custodial death case of Khwaja Yunus and then overnight he was reinstated into the Mumbai Police force. Did he confide in you about his reinstatement, what led to his reinstatement and why was he reinstated?
Shirish Thorat: I remember that he told me on the 5th (late evening India time) that he was going to be reinstated. My response was that it would take a miracle. A few hours later he sent me the order and I called him. I was happy for him and advised him to work diligently and with caution as it was no longer the 90s. It was obvious that only the approval of the CM and a bold move on part of the CP made the reinstatement possible.
GoaChronicle: Did he indicate in any way that someone politically pushed the reinstatement into the Mumbai Police for him?
Shirish Thorat: He didn’t have to he was a hardcore Shiv Sena loyalist and since they were in power he was being rewarded.
GoaChronicle: Who according to you were the political masters of Sachin Vaze that got him reinstated?
Shirish Thorat: There is no doubt in my mind that Uddhav Thackeray had him reinstated
GoaChronicle: You are a Director in two of Sachin Vaze’s companies? What led you to be a part of his business initiatives?
Shirish Thorat: Sachin would engage in business to earn a livelihood and on two occasions about 10 years ago he asked me to be a Director in an enterprise he had started. This was to make his Company profile more attractive. One Company was TechLegal and that closed after a year or so. The other Company was Diginext Multimedia and I was surprised to see it still operational at least on record. I have never invested any money and never been a shareholder. Sachin was not a good businessman and every company he formed usually folded in a few months or a year. We also worked on a parental supervision aid MobiCID software to be put on children’s phones for security.
GoaChronicle: Sachin Vaze and you have worked together during your time in the police force. You are aware of his encounters? Where his encounters based on police orders, political orders, or Dawood-orders?
Shirish Thorat: I personally think that in the initial stages encounters happened purely to crackdown on organized crime and Sachin was part of the team basically due to his expertise in computer systems and electronic systems. Unfortunately, a personal/ commercial mode entered into the process and by then the Media had elevated these police officers to a Demigod status. It went south from there.
GoaChronicle: Does Sachin Vaze have links with the underworld in particular Dawood Ibrahim and company?
Shirish Thorat: Every Police officer in an executive post has contacts in the underworld….that’s the nature and essence of the job. In all the years I know him Sachin never mentioned any contact with Dawood or his company. In fact, he would sometimes say that ‘If I can get Dawood that would be the biggest achievement’. Of course, it was wishful thinking but I believe he would have gone for it given half a chance. Glory meant everything to Sachin.
GoaChronicle: What do you know about his focus on Arnab Goswami and Republic TV especially the video he shared with you of Anvay Naik’s wife allegations and the May 14th message about Outlier Media?
Shirish Thorat: He did share a video of Anvay Naik with me at the beginning of May 2020. Then on May 14th, 2020 he called me and asked me to suggest a few titles for a story/book he was writing. He wanted the title to have the word Outlier in it. Since he very often asked me for the help of this nature for his writings I rattled off a few title suggestions and forgot about it. It’s only recently that I learned that the Republic channels parent company is Outlier. I had not made the connection till then.
GoaChronicle: Was Sachin Vaze brought by political leaders in Maharashtra to execute clandestine operations on certain cases such as Sushant Singh Rajput, Disha Salian, Badshah, and now we learn from the Mumbai Police Commissioner about extorting Rs 100 crores per month from business establishments in Mumbai order by Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh?
Shirish Thorat: Policemen have mostly given in to pressure from Politicians in power and frankly a loyalist like Sachin would have gone the extra mile to please his patrons. After all, they had put him back in uniform after 16 years of exile and their tabloid extolled his virtues until recently. I cannot comment on any of the cases you mentioned as I have no knowledge of them. Sachin actually more or less stopped communicating with me shortly after his reinstatement. From at least one call daily the last 15 years it became a call every 3 or 4 weeks. Indeed the entire November to February he hardly called me at all.
GoaChronicle: What was the relationship between Parambir Singh and Sachin Vaze? How does an Assistant Police Inspector supersede ranking officers in the Mumbai Police to have direct reporting with the Mumbai Police Commissioner?
Shirish Thorat: There was mutual respect between Parambir Singh and Sachin. Sachin used to speak of him very highly. It is not unusual for an API to report directly to the CP on specific issues. If it was a matter of routine and an everyday thing then that is unusual.
GoaChronicle: So in your knowledge or discussion with Sachin did he and the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh meet daily?
Shirish Thorat: Very often if not daily
GoaChronicle: In your relationship with Sachin Vaze, did you ever imagine that your friend would be investigated for a terror plot by NIA and also be involved in extortion of Rs 100 crores per month? What are your views now on Sachin Vaze?
Shirish Thorat: I have been racking my brains for the past 10 days for an explanation of his recent behavior and can only conclude that despite his capacity to be overzealous he must be insane. He is overdue for a heart bypass surgery and was taking all sorts of medications ayurvedic/Allopathic/ and other remedies. A roadside illiterate couldn’t have planned things better and left less evidence. This is not the Sachin Waze that I know. I have been through good and bad times together and have put food on each other’s tables. I have seen him eager/depressed/ excited/ morose/ and supported him in many ways during his 16 years of suspension and cannot come to terms with my knowledge of his psyche and behavior and the alleged acts he is purported to have committed.