NIA sources said it was Waze who was at the wheel of the Innova which tailed the Scorpio to a spot near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence, where it was parked.
A policeman who was the official driver of the Innova told NIA that after his duty was over on February 24, he parked it inside the police headquarters and went home. It is still not clear who drove the car from there to Thane, where Waze resides. Officials said the NIA suspects the Scorpio was driven by a constable.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, NIA seized a Mercedes car being used by Waze and seized cash worth Rs 5 lakh, a note-counting machine, documents and beer bottles from it. The car had a fake number plate, as was the case with the Scorpio and Innova. The Mercedes is registered in the name of one Manisha Bhavsar. Waze used it to commute to the police commissioner’s office, where he was posted.
NIA officials on Monday night carried out a search of the Crime Intelligence Unit in the police headquarters and seized a CPU, Waze’s i-pad and some documents. Sources said there are no records of the seizure of the digital video recorder taken out of Waze’s housing society on February 27 by API Riyazuddin Kazi.
The recorder contained images of the Scorpio being parked there. NIA officials suspect the image of a man in a PPE kit getting down from the Innova and walking towards the explosives-laden vehicle is of Waze. Sources said Waze has not admitted to his role in Hiran’s murder and more people are likely to be involved.
“Specific inputs gathered by NIA had revealed the involvement of accused Sachin Waze, working as an assistant police inspector, crime branch, in the conspiracy leading to placing the explosives-laden SUV on Carmichael Road on February 25,” the NIA’s remand plea said. The investigating agency said it had seized the vehicle on Sunday.
Earlier this week, Waze was remanded in NIA custody till March 25 in connection with the probe into recovery of explosives from the SUV found parked outside Antilia on February 25. The remand plea said that after Waze was questioned on Saturday, his “direct involvement in planting of the explosives-laden SUV… on the intervening night of February 24 and 25 had emerged”. “There is sufficient prima facie evidence to show the involvement of the accused in the conspiracy of a commission of the crime,” the remand plea said.
The NIA’s remand plea said the three offences — Mansukh Hiran’s murder, planting of explosives and vehicle theft — were evidently connected. The NIA also said a threat letter was posted on Telegram by terror outfit Jaish-ul-Hind and a ransom demand was made claiming responsibility for the incident. It said the person lodged in Tihar jail who allegedly sent the message was taken into custody by the Delhi special cell along with the mobile instrument used. The NIA said Waze’s custody was required to check the evidence.
It also said Waze’s criminal antecedents need to be brought on record to bring clarity regarding the current conspiracy and the probable links, if any. The NIA alleged the cases were being handled by four investigating officers till now, and Waze was the second. “There are discrepancies in handing over taking memos, which need to be clarified from the accused,” the NIA said.
Calling the offences grave, the NIA said the conspiracy angle needs to be thoroughly investigated and the identity of co-conspirators needs to be established by way of sustained enquiries with Waze. “Being a police officer with large amounts of wherewithal and influence at his disposition, the agency needs time to connect the missing links,” the remand plea said.
The NIA said there are “reasonable and justifiable grounds” for Waze’s police custody and for confronting him with his associates.