‘Antilia’ bomb scare-Hiran murder case: NIA gets 60 days to file charge sheet

The NIA had earlier asked for a 90-day extension to file the charge sheet saying that it was needed for the completion of the probe against all the accused.

'Antilia' bomb scare-Hiran murder case: NIA gets 60 days to file charge sheet
Police officer Sachin Vaze being taken to a court by NIA for a hearing in connection with a probe into the recovery of explosives from a car parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house, in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: PTI)

Mumbai: A special court in Mumbai gave an extension of two months to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday, to file its charge sheet in the case of an explosives-laden SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house and the subsequent murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran. The deadline for filing the charge sheet was to end on June 10.

The NIA had earlier moved the special court seeking an extension of 90 days to file the charge sheet saying that the extension was needed for completion of the probe against all the accused. The investigative agency, in its plea, stated that due to the coronavirus-induced restrictions in the state, the witnesses were not available for the examination or for the collection of documentary evidence.

“The five accused persons, in furtherance of the larger conspiracy along with others, had placed a threat note along with the gelatin sticks (explosives) inside the vehicle in order to threaten the Ambani family, and subsequently a threat letter emerged demanding money by Jaish-ul-Hind, which is a very serious act,” the NIA’s plea said. The plea also added that the involvement of Jaish-ul-Hind and its demand for money required a detailed investigation.

However, the plea was objected to by the lawyers of the accused, who stated that the provisions of the UAPA were not applicable to their clients. Sudip Pasbola, appearing for the accused Waze, argued that the gelatin sticks cannot explode without a detonator, hence there was no threat to society. He claimed that since all the articles have been recovered, there is no further investigation left to do for the agency. He also made an argument that no specific reasons are mentioned in the application for extension of the period for filing of the charge sheet. The ground mentioned in the application is not sustainable in the eye of the law, and hence the plea should be rejected, he added.

However, after hearing all the submissions, special court judge PR Sitre gave the NIA another 60 days to file the charge sheet.

“The offence is investigated in various dimensions. There are many folds in which investigation is carried out…it requires more time for a thorough probe,” the court said.

The “tentacles of the investigation are deep-rooted”, hence, it requires more time to search out each and every cause, the judge said.

Arrested on March 13, former police officer Sachin Waze is a prime accused in the case.

Other than Waze, three other former policemen – Riyazuddin Kazi, Sunil Mane, Vinayak Shinde, and a bookie, Naresh Gor, are also accused in the case.

An explosives-laden car was found parked near Ambani’s multi-storey residence ‘Antilia’ in south Mumbai on February 25 this year. Hiran, a Thane-based businessman, was found dead in a creek on March 5. He had earlier claimed that the SUV with explosives found near Ambani’s house had been stolen from his possession.

(with inputs from PTI)

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