On March 28, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) went to spot neat the Mithi river with former assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze in a bid to recover crucial evidence from the river bed. Professional divers were used in the process. The recovery operation was part of the investigation of the gelatin sticks-laden car outside the south Mumbai residence of Mukesh Ambani and the subsequent murder of Mansukh Hira, a businessman from Mumbai.
As per the reports, the NIA officials recovered two CPUs, a laptop, two digital video recorders (DVRs), and two vehicle registration plates. Investigators said that the former police officer had tried to destroy the evidence. Hindustan Times quoted an unnamed NIA official who said that during the interrogation, Vaze agreed to show the place where he threw the material used in the crime.
Maharashtra: NIA divers recover one more computer CPU, a laptop, two number plates with same registration number on them, and other items from Mithi river in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex as part of probe into death of Mansukh Hiren.— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2021
Accused Sachin Waze is present at the spot. pic.twitter.com/MMDwZ6W1o5
NIA team reached the spot at around 3:15 PM. Reports suggest that a group of 10 divers conducted the search for three hours and recovered crucial evidence. An NIA official said around seven NIA officials took Sachin Vaze to the spot from where he had discarded the evidence after damaging it with a hammer. Investigators believe that the recovered evidence is by far one of the most important recoveries made in the investigation. The search continued till 6 PM.
Sachin Vaze tried to destroy the evidence with a hammer
NIA has reportedly said, “During the interrogation of accused Sachin Vaze, he disclosed willingly to show the place where he threw the material used in the crime and destroyed the evidence. Accordingly, two independent witnesses were called, and his voluntary statement was recorded. Further, the accused showed the place as Mithi River, BKC, Bandra (East), Mumbai.”
NIA sources: Accordingly two independent witnesses were called and his voluntary statement recorded. Further accused showed the place as Mitthi River, BKC, Bandra (East), Mumbai. The said place was searched with the help of divers— Bharti Jain (@bhartijainTOI) March 29, 2021
According to the reports, assistant police inspector Riyazuddin Kazi had revealed that the evidence was thrown in the Mithi River during the interrogation. According to ANI, DVR’s recovered from the river allegedly recorded Vaze’s society where the car was parked between February 17 and 24 before it was planted outside Ambani’s house.
The officer further said that when the spot was searched with the divers’ help, NIA recovered a laptop, a printer, two hard drives, two number plates, 2 DVRs, 2 CPUs and other possible evidence. The said articles’ rightful owners recognized the articles from whom Vaze had collected them without due process.
Also, the laptop and printer recovered was used by Sachin Vaze in his office. A visible effort was made by the accused to destroy the same as hammer marks are present on them.— Bharti Jain (@bhartijainTOI) March 29, 2021
This is one of the important recoveries made as far as investigation is concerned.
“The said articles were identified by rightful owners/custodians from whom accused Sachin Vaze had collected them illegally without proper documentation. Also, the laptop and printer recovered were used by Sachin Vaze in his office. A visible effort was made by the accused to destroy the same as hammer marks are present on them,” he added. Reports suggest that the DVRs recovered from the Mithi River were the ones that were allegedly removed from the housing society in Thane, where Vaze resides.
“A group of 10 divers conducted a search around three hours and recovered crucial evidence,” another NIA official said on condition of anonymity. The NIA team, comprising six to seven officials, took Vaze to a Mithi river bridge from where he allegedly discarded the evidence after damaging it with the hammer, the official added.
The arrest of Sachin Vaze
Sachin Vaze was arrested by the NIA on March 13 for his alleged role in planting the explosives-laden car outside Ambani’s house. He has been accused of planning Hiren Mansukh’s murder as well. Hiren was the owner of the car that was parked outside Ambani’s residence. He was found dead in a creek on March 5.
Vaze was the investigation officer in the case before it was handed over to NIA. An officer told HT that he had all the evidence in his custody, but when he realized that the investigation might go to some other agency, he allegedly tried to destroy the evidence. NIA also noticed that a lot of evidence collected by Vaze during the investigation were not recorded in the case diary. It is believed that the aim was to destroy the evidence himself and derail the investigation.