'Antilia' bomb scare: NIA gets 60 days more to file charge sheet
Mumbai, June 09: A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday gave 60 days extension to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) 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.
Former police officer Sachin Waze, arrested on March 13, is a prime accused in the case.
Besides Waze, three other former policemen - Riyazuddin Kazi, Sunil Mane, Vinayak Shinde, and a bookie, Naresh Gor, are also accused in the case.
Under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the probe agency can seek time up to total 180 days since the day of the arrest of the accused, to submit the charge sheet. The NIA had earlier moved the special court seeking an extension of 90 days to file the charge sheet.
The agency had said that extension was required to complete the probe against all the accused.
The NIA, in its plea, stated that due the coronavirus-induced restrictions in the state, the witnesses were not available for the examination or for collection of documentary evidences.
Moreover, the documents collected during the investigation are voluminous and hence their analysis requires more time.
''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 involvement of Jaish-ul-Hind and its demand for money need deeper probe, it added.
The NIA's plea was objected by the laywers of the accused, saying that the provisions of the UAPA were not applicable to them. Appearing for Waze, Sudip Pasbola argued that the gelatin sticks cannot explode without a detonator, hence there was no threat to the society. All the articles are already recovered and nothing is left behind for probe, he said. No specific reasons are mentioned in the application for extension of period for filing of charge sheet, he added. Pasbola argued that the ground mentioned in the application is not sustainable in the eye of law, and hence the plea should be rejected.
However, after hearing all the submissions, special court judge P R 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.
An explosives-laden 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.