BJP’s senior leader Devendra Fadnavis said the arrest of assistant inspector Sachin Vaze in connection with the explosives-laden vehicle found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s home was just the beginning of the flow of information about the case.
It also puts a question mark on the Uddhav Thackeray- led Maha Vikas Aghadi government that was shielding Vaze, Fadnavis claimed.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Vaze on Saturday night for his alleged involvement in placing the explosives-laden vehicle on Carmichael Road near Ambani’s residence Antilia on February 25, an agency spokesperson earlier said.
“If somebody from the police force works in this manner, then how will law and order be maintained? Vaze was sheltered by the state government. Now the NIA has proof and has arrested him. This is just the beginning and more information will come out as the investigation progresses,” the former Maharashtra CM told reporters.
Fadnavis said Vaze was under suspension since 2004 due to a Bombay High Court order.
“But when I was chief minister and held the home department, my Shiv Sena colleagues wanted Vaze to be reinstated. I took the advice of the advocate general who said it was not proper to revoke the suspension. Last year, the MVA government reinstated Vaze citing the lack of police officials amid the COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.
Fadnavis said Vaze was posted in Crime Intelligence Unit, a sensitive and important arm of the Crime Branch, that too by giving him charge after transferring the inspector level official heading it.
He was handling every case in the CIU despite being just an assistant police inspector (API) because he was confident, he had the backing of the ruling Shiv Sena, Fadnavis alleged.
“He is now accused of staging an incident of which he was named the investigating officer,” the former CM said.
He rubbished talk of the involvement of the NIA, a Central agency, in the probe lowering the morale of Maharashtra police, and asked if the morale of the police was getting boosted due to the presence of personnel like Vaze.
Reacting to some leaders accusing him of getting sensitive information about the case beforehand, Fadnavis said, as Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, it was his duty to highlight wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said Vaze had done irreparable damage to the image of the state.
“It is shameful that a police officer defended by the state chief minister till yesterday has been arrested by the NIA in a terror conspiracy case. The Shiv Sena was supporting a person who wanted to harm industrialists and destroy peace,” he said.
Patil said there were several answers people wanted to know about the incident involving the explosives-laden vehicle as well as the death of its owner Mansukh Hiran.
“People want to know why Vaze was supported to the hilt and who are the leaders, MLAs, ministers, and police officials who knew about the entire episode but chose to remain silent,” Patil said.