NIA searches Waze's office; court rejects his plea against arrest

·4-min read

(Eds: adding detials of seizure of car) Mumbai, Mar 16 (PTI) The NIA which is probing the case related to the recovery of an SUV with explosives near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house on Tuesday searched arrested police official Sachin Waze's office here.

A court, meanwhile, rejected Waze's plea contending that the manner of his arrest by the agency was illegal.

Late at night, the NIA said that a Mercedes which Waze, an assistant police inspector, was using was seized and Rs 5 lakh cash was recovered from it.

Waze, arrested in the case on March 13 for his alleged role in the crime, was attached to the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of city police's crime branch till recently. The office is located in the police commissioner's office compound in south Mumbai.

The National Investigation Agency team recovered some 'incriminating' documents and electronic evidence such as laptop, iPad and mobile phones from Waze's office there, a police official said.

The searches started around 8 pm on Monday and were going on till 4 am on Tuesday, he said.

A black Mercedes which Waze was using was also seized from a parking lot near CSMT station, and Rs 5 lakh in cash, a note-counting machine, two number plates and some clothes were recovered from it, said Inspector General of NIA Anil Shukla.

The NIA has so far recorded statements of seven officials of Crime Branch including an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

The agency also questioned, on the third consecutive day, CIU's Assistant Police Inspector (API) Riyazuddin Kazi, he added.

Kazi had collected Digital Video Record (DVR) of CCTVs from the housing society in Saket area of Thane where Waze lived on February 27, two days after the explosives-laden Scorpio was found on Carmichael Road near Ambani's house.

The probe agency suspects that it was collected to destroy evidence which could implicate Waze himself, the official said. During the search, the DVR was seized.

The wife of businessman Mansukh Hiran, who had claimed the Scorpio was stolen from his possession and who died mysteriously, has alleged that the SUV was being used by Waze for some time.

API Kazi had also allegedly procured fake number plates found in the SUV, the police official claimed.

The SUV case was taken over by the NIA following Mansukh Hiran's death.

A special court on Sunday remanded Waze in the custody of the central agency till March 25. On Tuesday, the court rejected Waze's plea claiming that his arrest was illegal.

His lawyers Sajal Yadav and Sunny Punamiya had argued that Waze was not produced before the courtwithin 24 hours after his arrest, as is required.

No sanction was taken from the state government under section 45(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the lawyers contended. Under section 45(1), sanction of the government is necessary if an official is to be arrested for anything done in his/her official capacity.

Special public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves denied the allegations. Waze was arrested at 11.50 PM on Saturdayand produced before the court at about 2.45 PM next day, he said.

Waze had been called in the morning for some clarification about the probe but he arrived late at night, the prosecutor claimed. Waze's lawyers had alleged he had been detained since 11 AM on Saturday.

Sanction was not needed as Waze had not acted in discharge of his official duty, the NIA lawyer said.

Judge P R Sitre, while rejecting Waze's plea, observed that he was a policeman and knew his rights.

'The entry in the station diary clearly reflects that intimation was provided to the accused and the concerned police station and also information about his arrest, which means grounds of arrest were provided,' the judge said.

Whether he hadacted 'in the course of performance of duty' can be examined during the trial, the court held.

The court allowed Waze's lawyer to watch his interrogation from behind a glass partition but not within the hearing distance.

Speaking to reporters here, BJP leader Pravin Darekar said the more the ruling Shiv Sena defended Waze, the more suspicion there will be about the state government's intentions.

The Sena had on Monday said take-over of the case by the NIA was 'insult' to Maharashtra police. PTI DC AVI ND KRK KRK KRK