Court sends Waze to judicial custody

Court sends Waze to judicial custody

Mumbai: A special NIA court here on Friday sent suspended police officer Sachin Waze to judicial custody till April 23 in the case of recovery of an explosives-laden SUV from near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house and the death of businessman Mansukh Hiran.

Waze, arrested on March 13, was produced before the special court after the end of his NIA remand and the judge chided him for leaking documents to the media.

On April 7, Waze had released a letter in which he had claimed that former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had demanded Rs 2 crore from him to continue his service in the Mumbai police and alleged another minister Anil Parab asked him to collect money from contractors.

Special judge PR Sitre sent the suspended assistant police inspector (API) in judicial custody till April 23 after the anti-terror agency didn't press for his further custody.

After the court remanded Waze to judicial custody, defence lawyer Abad Ponda requested the judge to provide him a secure cell in jail, saying his client apprehends danger to his life.

The 49-year-old suspended API was later taken to the Taloja jail in adjoining Navi Mumbai.

The accused had been in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) since his arrest on March 13, over two weeks after the explosives-laden SUV was found parked near Ambani's house in south Mumbai on February 25.

Waze is also under the scanner over the alleged murder of Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV.

Meanwhile, the judge reprimanded Waze and his defence team for leaking documents to the media on April 7 and not submitting them in the court after following proper procedures laid down under the CrPc.

The matter was brought to the court's notice by special public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves, who represented the NIA.

He told the court the accused had been given opportunity to write or submit whatever he wants to say to the court after following prescribed procedure.

Despite that some documents were given by the accused to his lawyers in the last hearing, Gonsalves said.

"Even the NIA was not aware about these documents. He was allowed to speak to his lawyers for five minutes during the last hearing and he took advantage of it," Gonsalves said.

Responding to the same, Waze's lawyer Ponda said, "I am surprised, I'm unaware about it and not involved in it."

Reprimanding the accused, the judge said such acts should not be repeated.

"I had asked you to follow proper procedure, you have every right to submit whatever you want, even in the form of confession. But why was proper procedure not adopted as per CrPc? This should not happen again," judge Sitre said.

On Wednesday, Waze had tried to submit the letter to the special NIA court. However, judge Sitre refused to take his letter, which had serious allegations against Deshmukh and Parab, on record and told him to follow the required procedure.

Parab has rubbished allegations made by Waze.

Meanwhile, the court allowed the CBI's plea seeking access to papers of the bomb scare case for its preliminary enquiry into the allegations of corruption against Deshmukh levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

Singh had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh, alleging the NCP leader had asked Waze and other police officers to extort Rs 100 crore from restaurants and bars in Mumbai.

The CBI questioned Waze, while he was in the NIA custody, for several hours for the last three days in connection with its probe into the allegations against Deshmukh.

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