Mumbai: In an explosive turn of events in the Antilia bomb scare probe, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is now trying to find out details of the woman who was seen at the five-star hotel in South Mumbai behind Sachin Vaze between February 16 to 20.
Exactly a month after an SUV Scorpio was found parked outside Antilia, NIA is now tracking a 'mystery woman' accompanying the prime accused Sachin Vaze to a five-star hotel in south Mumbai.
Vaze, currently in NIA custody till Thursday, was seen entering the hotel where he spent at least five days in mid-February using some fake identity papers and the woman close behind him was noticed, baffling the investigators, official sources said.
Though her antecedents are not clear, she is reportedly from Gujarat and may have been involved in some other case being probed by the Mumbai Crime Branch's elite Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU). The NIA is also ascertaining five black coloured bags which Vaze was seen carrying while entering the hotel during his stay from February 16, hours after Thane businessman Mansukh Hiren lodged a complaint of his missing SUV Scorpio.
The current whereabouts of the bags are not known, but the NIA is quizzing the hotel staffers and others to trace them and their contents.
As part of the ongoing probe into the SUV and Hiren cases, the NIA is scanning all persons who had met or spoken with Vaze from mid-February till his arrest, and the mystery woman may be questioned shortly.
Meanwhile, the NIA, which has slapped the stringent terror-related charges under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on Vaze, will produce him before the court later in the day as his remand ends. After a Thane Magistrate ordered the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) to hand over the entire case papers to the NIA, the federal agency will investigate even the Hiren death case mystery along with the SUV case.
It was in the early afternoon of February 25 that the abandoned SUV was detected near Antilia and later the police recovered 20 gelatin sticks and a threat note from it.
Exactly 10 days later on March 25, the body of Hiren was extricated from the marshes in the Thane Creek near Mumbra town, both incidents triggering a nationwide sensation and the consequent political upheaval.
Hoping to salvage its slurred image, the 157-year-old Mumbai Police effected a major shake-up in the Crime Branch by transferring at least 86 policemen, including 65 officers.
(With inputs from IANS)