The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government on Tuesday sought to distance itself from suspended police officer Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the recovery of explosives from a car near billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai.
“The MVA government handled the case very well. This is the reason all (culprits) were exposed. The one (Anil Deshmukh) having the responsibility of the home department has done a good job. Those involved in wrongdoing were located and exposed and proved that stern action can be taken,” Sharad Pawar, president of the Nationalist Congess Party told reporters in Delhi after a day of hectic parleys over the controversy which has divided the ruling alliance, comprising of Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress.
On handing over the case to the NIA, the senior leader said, “There is no difference of opinion within the MVA government over action by NIA against those who have misused their position… It is the responsibility of all of us to cooperate with the national agency if it is investigating a case.”
The Sena, however, has taken a different stand on the NIA probe.
Speaking to mediapersons in Delhi, Shiv Sena leader and urban development minister Eknath Shinde, however, said that the NIA should only investigate matters that come under its jurisdiction. “NIA should investigate matters that come under their jurisdiction, but if Central agencies such as NIA, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) will continue taking over all the cases in the states, then definitely they will lose their credibility,” he said.
Earlier in the day, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting of senior ministers from the three ruling parties, during which it was decided that the government’s stand on the issue should be made clear, a person familiar with the details of the meeting said.
After the meeting, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar told mediapersons that whoever is found guilty will face action. “Since the beginning, the government took a stand that the investigation should be completed and the guilty will have to face the consequences. No one is going to be shielded and there is no reason to take any such step.”
“The MVA government took action in the case without any delay and Vaze was removed as soon as his name appeared in the case. The case was also transferred to the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) immediately. NIA came in picture because of explosives found in the car… Now both the investigation agencies — NIA and ATS — are probing the case at their own level,” the deputy chief minister further said.
State Congress president Nana Patole said the government did not try to shield the suspended official. “But the way BJP is portraying Mumbai and Maharashtra police as villains, we are against that. We are not concerned about Vaze. Whoever is guilty should face action. The Congress will not tolerate targeting the police,” he said after the meeting with the CM.