The Ambani bomb threat case has taken a dramatic turn with the arrest of Mumbai police "encounter specialist” Sachin Vaze, who is accused of murdering Mansukh Hiren, an important witness in the case.
Here is a complete timeline of the case.
25 February: A green SUV was found about 600 metres away from industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house with 20 gelatin sticks and a hand-written letter.
The letter addressed to Mukesh and Neeta Ambani called the planted explosives a 'trailer' and threatened to return later with more preparations to assassinate the whole family.
An FIR is registered by the Mumbai police the next day.
27 February: A threatening message from a Telegram account in the name of Jaish ul Hind is posted, along with a demand for payment in a cryptocurrency (Monero) from Mukesh Ambani.
However, the same evening, another letter posted by a group claiming to be the ‘real’ Jaish Ul Hind said that it had nothing to do with the car found near Ambani’s house.
1 March: The green SUV was tracked to one Mansukh Hiren, a Thane-based automobile spare parts businessman.
In November 2020, Hiren had purportedly given the SUV to Sachin Vaze, an old client, who returned the car back on 5 February 2021 owing to a technical snag in the steering.
On 17 February, Hiren is forced to park the car after the “steering gets jammed” at the Eastern Express Highway in Vikhroli. When he comes back the next day, he finds it missing and lodges a complaint with Vikhroli police station in Mumbai.
2 March: Mansukh Hiren alleges harassment by the police in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh, Thane Police chief Vivek Phansalkar.
4 March: Hiren gets a call from “some Tawde of Kandivli Crime Branch” who asks him to meet at Ghodbunder Road in Thane.
5 March: Mansukh Hiren is found dead after being “missing” for five hours.
The police said that it looked like he committed suicide by jumping into Kalwa creek. However, Hiren’s wife alleged that Sachin Vaze, Mumbai crime branch officer, killed her husband.
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the last known location of Mansukh Hiren's phone was near Shiv Sena leader Dhananjay Gawde's office. Both Gawde and Vaze are purportedly close as both were named in an extortion case in 2017. He demanded Vaze’s arrest.
10 March: Maharashtra government, facing the heat from the Opposition, announced that Sachin Vaze will be removed from the Crime Branch and posted in some other department.
Previously, defending the officer, CM Uddhav Thackeray had said that 'Sachin Vaze is not Osama Bin Laden'. In response, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis called Thackeray an "advocate of Sachin Vaze".
11 March: Delhi police recovers SIM card and cell phone used to threaten Ambani from Indian Mujahideen member Tehsin Akhtar’s barracks in Tihar jail.
The SIM and cell phone were used to create the Jaish-ul-Hind Telegram account which claimed the responsibility for the explosive-laden SUV and demanded cryptocurrency.
The user of the mobile phone was using an app to generate virtual numbers and then using those to make a Telegram account. He was also using a TOR browser to mask his IP address on the internet.
Meanwhile, Sachin Vaze was grilled by state ATS in Mansukh Hiren death case, and NIA team conducted raids at different locations in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar.
13 March: Late at night, Mumbai police arrests Sachin Vaze after 12 hours of questioning.
Vaze was booked by NIA under Sections 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy; 286 for negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance; 465 for forgery; 473 for making or possessing counterfeit seal and 506(2) for criminal intimidation.
Two Assistant Commissioners of Police, Nitin Alaknure, who serves in the Mumbai Police's Crime Branch, and Sripath Kale, who serves in the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), were also called in by the NIA.
Before the arrest, Sachin Vaze puts up cryptic WhatsApp message - "time to say goodbye to the world coming closer."
14 March: The Innova car seen in the CCTV footage tailing the SUV with the explosives was brought to NIA office. It belongs to Mumbai Police Crime Branch. Four members of Crime Intelligence Unit (2 drivers and 2 officers) were also called by NIA. The officers were a part of the team that was being headed by arrested Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze.
Waze is now being taken to the NIA court.
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