Days after his arrest by the National Investigation Agency, Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze filed a habeas corpus petition in the Bombay High Court, claiming that he was arrested illegally in connection with an SUV laden with explosives found near Mukesh Ambani's house and the death of Mansukh Hiran.
Vaze filed the petition through his brother, Sudharam Vaze.
Vaze's advocate Sunny Punamiya told Newslaundry that while arresting Vaze, guidelines for arrests as prescribed by the Supreme Court and the Criminal Procedure Code were given a "go by", and that the lapses "collectively violate Article 21". The petition stated that Vaze was not provided a copy of the FIR or given the reasons for his arrest.
Vaze, an assistant police inspector with the Mumbai police, was arrested on March 13 in connection with an SUV filled with explosives found near near Antilia, industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s home, on February 25. The owner of the vehicle, Mansukh Hiran, had reported it as stolen a few days before.
Hiran was found dead on March 5, after sending a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray that he had been hounded "as an accused" in the case by mediapersons and police personnel, including Vaze. His wife, Vimla Hiran, had filed an FIR with the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad on March 10, alleging that Vaze was involved in Hiran's death and the SUV found near Antilia.
Her complaint said: "I believe my husband was murdered and I suspect Sachin Vaze was involved in the murder. And hence I request the matter should be investigated thoroughly."
Vaze's petition in the high court called him a "well-established" and "pristine" police officer who was both "respectable" and "law-abiding".
Newslaundry had previously reported on how Vaze was chargesheeted in the 2003 custodial death of Khwaja Yunus. The charges include murder, destruction of evidence, and concealment of Yunus’s body. Vaze resigned from the police in 2007, but he was reinstated last year, even though the murder case is trial, and Vaze and his fellow accused haven’t been cleared of the charges.
Vaze's petition stated that Mansukh Hiran's wife, Vimla, "went to the media with her false and baseless allegations" against Vaze. Subsequently, the petition said, the "entire media fraternity" targeted him, since "they wanted a scapegoat to pin this entire conspiracy on".
The petition described Vimla Hiran's allegations as "false, frivolous and concocted". It contended that Vaze's arrest indicates "ulterior motives and huge political influence".
Newslaundry reached out to Sudharam Vaze, who filed the petition on his brother's behalf. Sudharam said he could only talk about the matter after March 25, until which Vaze will be in the NIA's custody.