The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday upped the ante against its former ally Shiv Sena over the arrest of Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze in connection with the Antilia bomb scare case. Senior party leader Narayan Singh Rane has claimed that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is the “godfather of the arrested cop” and that he should quit forthwith.
"Chief Minister is the godfather of Sachin Vaze. He should resign," he told India TV. Rane said that Vaze was suspended from the duty, but "it was the Chief Minister who reinstated him and gave him the charge of the Crime Intelligence Unit". "Vaze was reinstated to the police department only because of the Chief Minister," the former Maharashtra CM added.
Uddhav, the Shiv Sena supremo, is facing intense heat from the opposition over Vaze's link to his party. Uddhav heads a three-party alliance government comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
Vaze, arrested in the probe into recovery of explosives from a car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence, has already confessed his role in the case. An assistant police inspector with the Mumbai Police, he was arrested by the NIA. Sources told India TV that he was involved in placing gelatin sticks in the SUV that was found parked near Ambani's multi-storey residence 'Antilia' on February 25, and that when he was questioned about it, he admitted his involvement.
He has arrested under IPC sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) 465 (forgery), 473 (making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc with intent to commit forgery), 506(2) (punishment for criminal intimidation), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.
Anil Deshmukh meets Pawar in Delhi
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh on Friday met party supremo Sharad Pawar in Delhi as opposition BJP has mounted its attack on the MVA government.
In another related development, crucial audio tapes in possession of the NIA and interrogation of several police officers have revealed that Vaze had bypassed police hierarchy while probing the Antilia case.
Earlier, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis had revealed that Vaze wielded a lot of clout in the police department, as he was close to the Shiv Sena leadership. Fadnavis claimed that when he was CM (2014 to 2019), Uddhav Thackrey had asked him to reinstate Vaze, but "I had refused to do so on the basis of a legal opinion".
Credited with eliminating 63 alleged criminals in 'encounters', Waze, a 1990-batch officer of the state cadre, was suspended in 2004 over his role in the custodial death of a 2002 Ghatkopar blast suspect Khwaja Yunus and was reinstated last year. Waze had joined Shiv Sena while he was under suspension. Uddhav recently said Waze was a member of Shiv Sena till 2008.