Current AffairsIndia

API Vaze’s NIA custody extended till April 3

Mumbai: A special NIA court here on Thursday extended till April 3 the NIA custody of assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze, the prime accused in Antilia bomb scare case.

He was produced before the special NIA (National Investigation Agency) court in heavy police protection on expiry of his NIA custody today.

Additional Solicitor-General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, while moving the remand application, argued for extension of Vaze’s custody by 15 days.

He told the court that the agency had seized 62 live bullets from Vaze’s home which are not yet accounted for since he was only issued 30 bullets by the police department, of which only five are accounted.

He also said that when Vaze had allegedly gone to plant the sports utility vehicle near Antilia, the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, he later reportedly collected and destroyed some critical close circuit TV footage of several places and used fake i-cards to check into a five-star hotel.

The court was told that NIA wanted to question him further and verify his statements by confronting him with other accused arrested in the case.

In his submissions before the special court, Vaze and his lawyer Abad Ponda dismissed the NIA’s contentions and urged that its plea for extending custody should be rejected, as he was innocent and was being framed in the entire matter.

“I am being made a scapegoat in this entire incident and have nothing to do with the crime,” pleaded Vaze, who was arrested on March 13, four days after NIA was handed over the probe on March 9, as a massive political furore erupted.

He said that he had investigated the case for just one-and-half days, doing whatever was required as the IO, along with other Mumbai Police and Crime Branch officers, but something happened abruptly and when he went to NIA office on March 13, he was arrested.

Advocate Ponda further argued that NIA would also have to convince the court on invoking the stringent anti-terror provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, on March 24, even as it was handed over the connected case pertaining to the March 5 death of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran, in whose possession the SUV was and it was reportedly stolen.

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