Waze will no longer be an accused in the case and will be considered a prosecution witness, whose testimony can be used against his co-accused including former state home minister Anil Deshmukh.
The CBI had last week given its nod to Waze’s plea stating that he fulfils the requirements and conditions in law to become an approver.
Waze, who is lodged in the Taloja Central Jail, was produced before court via videoconferencing Wednesday. Special Judge DP Shingade told him that his plea for grant of pardon has been accepted subject to conditions. The conditions read out by the court include that Waze will have to accept that he will make full disclosure of facts known to him in the offence and correctly and truthfully answer questions put to him during the trial by the special public prosecutor. After Waze accepted the conditions, the court allowed his plea.
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Lawyers for other co-accused had earlier in the day sought to be heard on Waze’s plea but the court said that there is no provision in law for them to be heard on a plea seeking pardon.
The CBI is expected to file its chargesheet against Deshmukh and others Thursday.
Waze had similarly made a request before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has filed a money-laundering case against him, Deshmukh and others. In February, Waze had written to the ED’s assistant director and investigating officer seeking to make a voluntary disclosure and sought for him to be considered for pardon. No steps have been taken so far by the ED or Waze on the letter.
In the CBI case, where Waze, Deshmukh and two others were arrested in April, the former police officer moved an application for pardon under Section 306 of the Criminal Procedure Code last Wednesday through his lawyer Rounak Naik. Waze has alleged before the CBI that it was on Deshmukh’s instructions that he had collected bribes from restaurant and bar owners from December 2020-March 2021.
Waze continues to face charges as accused in the ED case as well as a case filed by the National Investigation Agency alleging that he had planted explosives in a vehicle and parked it near the residence of businessman Mukesh Ambani. Waze also faces charges of murder for allegedly conspiring to kill a man linked to the vehicle.