MUMBAI: A special NIA court here has held that former policeman Vinayak Shinde, prima facie, participated in the conspiracy to plant explosives near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s south Mumbai residence and “knowingly” misused parole granted to him in a fake encounter case.
Special Judge A T Wankhede made this observation while denying bail to Shinde on Tuesday, the detailed order of which was made available on Saturday.
Shinde, serving life imprisonment in the fake encounter case of Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya, was out on parole when the Antilia bomb scare incident took place in February last year.
The former policeman had sought bail on the ground that he was “falsely implicated” in the case and made an accused merely on the basis of “surmises and conjuncture”.
Shinde, through his advocate, had submitted he was not named in the FIR, nor was there any material in the charge sheet to “show any overt act” committed by the accused to justify his arrest.
Shinde also claimed there was no motive assigned (by the probe agency) to the accused to participate in the alleged act of conspiracy.
The prosecution, however, opposed his plea saying the accused is directly involved in the commission of the offence, adding that the allegation against Shinde is he willingly entered into the alleged conspiracy of organized crime hatched by accused number one (Sachin Waze).
After hearing both the sides and on perusal of material placed on records, the court said it is a matter of fact that the accused is convicted in a murder case and is undergoing life imprisonment.
“During this parole, he contacted Waze and even introduced a witness in the case and bar owners to Waze. He has also collected the extortion amount from the said witness. Not only that, he pretended to be ‘police constable Vinay’. This has shown criminal behaviour and conduct of the applicant/accused,” the court said.
The judge further held that the conspiracy, to place a gelatin-laden vehicle on Carmichael Road (near Antilia) and commission of murder of Mansukh Hiren, cannot be accepted to be performed by him (Waze) alone.
“It may be the fact the applicant (Shinde) may not have been aware about the end result of the conspiracy, but, prima facie, he has participated in it and knowingly misused parole granted to him and participated in criminal act,” the judge said.
The fact that Shinde is a dismissed policeman increased the gravity of the offence, the judge noted.
“The allegations levelled against the accused are prima facie true. Considering the role of the accused and his involvement in the offence, this is not a fit case to use discretion in favour of the accused for granting him bail,” the judge said.
Besides Waze and Shinde, other accused in the case include former ‘encounter specialist’ Pradeep Sharma and former policemen Sunil Mane and Riyazuddin Kazi. All the accused, except one cricket bookie Naresh Gor, are in judicial custody. Gor was granted bail by the NIA court in November last year.
An explosives-laden SUV was found near Ambani’s house on February 25, 2021. Hiran, who had claimed he was in possession of the SUV before it was stolen, was found dead in a creek in Thane some days later on March 5.