Ambani security scare: NIA invokes UAPA against Sachin Waze

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(Eds: Combines related stories) Mumbai, Mar 24 (PTI) The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday said it has invoked provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in the Antilia explosives scare case, in which suspended police officer Sachin Waze is an accused.

Waze is in NIA's custody for his alleged role in planting an explosive-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's multi-storey residence Antilia in south Mumbai on February 25.

The NIA on Wednesday moved an application informing the special NIA court about adding the UAPA charges in the case, which was allowed by the court, sources said.

Waze, an assistant police inspector (API) with the Mumbai police, has been charged under sections 16 and 18 of the UAPA, the sources said.

These deal with an individual/group conspiring or attempt to commit or advocates, abets, the commission of a terrorist act or any act preparatory to the commission of a terror act.

The central agency's move comes a day before the NIA custody of Waze ends.

Waze (49) is a former 'encounter specialist' and is credited with eliminating many criminals in 'encounters'. He is also facing heat in the murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who was in possession of the explosives-laden Scorpio car.

The NIA is also probing the Hiran murder case.

Waze, a 1990-batch officer of the state cadre, was also suspended in 2004 in the custodial death of 2002 Ghatkopar blast suspect Khwaja Yunus and was reinstated last year.

Meanwhile, a Thane court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to stop its investigation into Hiran's death and immediately hand over the case records to the NIA, which is now carrying out the probe.

Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5, days after he claimed that the Scorpio with explosives found near Ambani's house had been stolen from his possession.

The Union home ministry handed over the probe into the Hiran case to the central investigative agency on March 20.

But the ATS continued its probe and claimed to have cracked the case two days ago.

The NIA then approached the Thane chief judicial magistrate, seeking a direction to the ATS to hand over the case, the central agency's lawyer said.

The magistrate, after hearing submissions from both the agencies, directed that the ATS' investigating officer shall not proceed with the probe, and shall hand over all relevant documents and records to the NIA without any delay.

The NIA is already probing the case related to the recovery of the explosives-laden SUV.

On Wednesday evening, the NIA took into custody the two accused arrested earlier by the ATS in connection with the Hiran murder case, an official said.

The NIA took the custody of the duo- suspended policeman Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Gaur, he said.

'A team of seven to eight NIA officials reached the ATS office here and took the accused duo into the custody,' the official said.

The ATS had arrested Shinde and Gaur last week.

It had registered a murder case under section 302 (punishment for murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against unknown persons, days after Hiran's body was found.

Meanwhile, DCP Parag Manere of the Mumbai police's Economic Offence Wing (EOW) visited the NIA office in the evening, an official said.

However, the reason behind his visit to the central agency's south Mumbai office could not be known. PTI AVI ZA KRK VT NP NP