Mumbai: Worried about Maharashtra’s “dignity”, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, in his party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ commented on recent controversies, including the suicides of Puja Chavan and MP Mohan Delkar and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran followed by Mumbai’s top cop Sachin Vaze’s arrest under a headline, “Is someone trying to use Ambani as a shield?”, suspecting a deliberate attempt to malign the image of state government.
Raut, during a media interaction, on Sunday, criticised the NIA’s action in taking over the probe into the death of Hiran and the explosives-laden vehicle found near the Ambani residence. He said it amounted to demoralising Mumbai Police and creating instability in the state. “They (Mumbai Police) are capable and professional. They can’t be pressured,” he said, while, defending Vaze being an “honest, successful officer and a good investigator”.
However, some of Raut’s comments in the ‘Saamna’ piece were at odds with his defence of Vaze, he wrote. “It’s no longer surprising that the police indulge in corruption, extortion and protection money. People have accepted the fact that this is how the police force functions across the country. However, the nation will be in grave peril if policemen indulge in violence and try to strike a pot of gold in drug trafficking and rampant extortion… police cook up a case and get some big names implicated in it and extort money.”
The Rajya Sabha MP also showed his suspicion over the parking of vehicle near Ambani’s residence as it is nearly impossible given the stringent security offered to the tycoon. Raut also expressed doubt if there was a deliberate breach of security at Ambani’s residence so that the car could be parked in the vicinity. Without elaborating, he said a clique which does not belong to the police force but wields controls over the Mumbai-Thane unit could have scripted the Hiran-Vaze episode.
The case has taken a crucial turn with Mumbai police department’s “encounter specialist’ Vaze’s arrest. The body of Hiran, who was reportedly in possession of the explosives-laden car found near the Ambani residence, was found in the Mumbra creek. Hiran’s wife has accused Vaze of killing her husband.
On Vaze’s arrest Raut said, “There is a difference between charges being levelled and the charges being proved, adding that, “The state government’s prestige is at stake in this case.”
“This led us to understand that such unpainted vehicles are normally granted to government departments and the police. With the Ganpati idol on the dashboard and the damaged bonnet, we identified the car, which was attached to the CIU of the Mumbai crime branch. We then scanned the CCTV footage of the police headquarters and traced the Innova car,” an official revealed.
As per the CCTV footage assessed by the police officials, an Innova was seen leaving police headquarters around 12.45pm on February 24, which was later seen in Thane. It drops the driver of the car at Thane and returns to the city with a different number plate.
Furthermore, it has been alleged by sources that when the ATS and NIA were looking for the Innova, Vaze’s team had sent it to the Motor Transport department for repair.