- NIA looking into roles of Pradeep Sharma, Param Bir Singh.
- Pradeep Sharma quit the police force in 2019 and joined Shiv Sena.
- Pradeep Sharma and Sachin waze, together, have killed over 360 gagnsters.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is still probing the role of Param Bir Singh in the mysterious death of a Thane trader in March even as the CBI, based on the former Mumbai Police Commissioner's allegations, questioned Anil Deshmukh who resigned as Maharashtra Home Minister a few days ago. The terror probe agency is also looking into the affairs of other top city policemen who may be connected to Mansukh Hiran's death, officials with the terror probe agency have said.
"Contrary to claims made by Param Bir Singh, we have been able to establish that Sachin Waze was directly reporting to him. We have recorded his statement in which he has denied knowing anything, but we still have not given him a clean chit," a senior NIA official disclosed to NDTV.
Mr Singh was questioned in connection with both, the Antilia bomb threat case and Mr Hiran's death. The auto parts dealer was found dead under mysterious circumstances days after an explosives-laden car, later traced back to him, was found on Mumbai's Carmichael Road with a threat letter to industrialist Mukesh Ambani. The former Mumbai police chief, who was moved out over the mishandling of the car bomb case, later made corruption allegations against Mr Deshmukh eventually leading to his resignation.
Mr Waze, who is suspected to have played a role both in the Antilia bomb scare case and Mr Hiran's death, was alleged to have been part of Mr Deshmukh's extortion racket, according to Mr Singh. The former Crime Branch officer was earlier arrested by the NIA in connection with the Ambani threat case.
"Waze disclosed many things during his custody but we just cannot rely on them as they could all be mere allegations. We need hard evidence to prove our case in court," the official said.
NIA's focus now is on another former Mumbai Police encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, who is also known as Mr Waze's mentor.
"We have some definitive clues that some help could have been provided by Sharma in the Mansukh Hiran case. We have been quizzing him. So far, he is cooperating and providing details which are proving helpful," the NIA official said.
The NIA has worked out the Antilia bomb threat case, officials said, and the task is now to establish the source of the gelatine sticks placed inside the Scorpio car found outside Mr Ambani's south Mumbai residence on February 25. "As far as the Mansukh Hiran murder case is concerned, we have been able to establish who could be the murderer," an NIA source revealed.
Mr Waze had indicated to the NIA that he procured the gelatine sticks through Mr Sharma's contact, a revelation that requires documentary evidence to be proven in court.
Mr Sharma had quit his high-profile police job to contest the Assembly polls on a Shiv Sena ticket in 2019. He lost the election and now runs an NGO named PS Foundation.
NIA officials claim to have established that he was a frequent visitor to Mr Waze's Crime Branch office in the Mumbai Police headquarters till he was transferred in the wake of the Antilia bomb scare case.
"Sharma is under our radar not just because of his affiliation to Waze, but also because of his few crucial meetings with the accused, held after the execution of the crime. These meetings indicate that Sharma was trying to help Waze, who was caught on camera planting a threat letter in the explosive-laden vehicle," an NIA official said.
Mr Sharma and Mr Vaze have been perceived to be close right from their early days in the police department. Later the encounter duo came close to the Shiv Sena leadership. Mr Waze joined the party in 2007 and was appointed as its spokesperson. After it returned to power in Maharashtra in late 2019, his suspension from duty was revoked in 2020.
Mr Sharma, too, resigned from the police service and joined the Sena in 2019. He lost the Assembly polls from the Nala Sopara seat.
Together Mr Sharma and Mr Waze have reportedly gunned down over 360 sharpshooters of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, besides other gangsters.
The CBI today recorded Mr Deshmukh's statement ahead of filing a reply with the Mumbai High Court next week. Besides Mr Singh and Mr Waze, it has so far recorded statements of Assistant Police Inspector Sanjay Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police Raju Bhujbal and two personal aides of Mr Deshmukh. The NIA has reportedly handed over a plethora of evidence of corruption to the CBI.