THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) Monday approached a special court seeking a 90-day extension to file its chargesheet in the Ambani terror scare case against the five accused, including dismissed assistant inspector Sachin Waze.

The agency has said that the case has repercussions on the “territorial integrity, sovereignty and security of India” and if an extension is not granted there is a risk of the accused “slipping from the clutches of law”.

The central agency has invoked charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the five accused arrested in the case. Under the Act, the investigating agency can file its chargesheet within 180 days of the first arrest but requires permission from the court after 90 days. Waze was the first person to be arrested in the case on March 13.

The court will also have to hear the accused on the plea since an extension in filing the chargesheet could impact their bail hearing and mean longer jail time pending investigation.

In its application, the NIA has said that due to the lockdown-like restrictions in the state since April, following the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it could not carry out investigation. It said that witnesses were not available for examination nor was collection of documentary and material evidence possible. The agency has also submitted that there is voluminous data to be analysed, which will require further time.

The accused, the NIA has said, are “highly influential” former policemen, who “will in all possible manner” threaten the prosecution witnesses, cause destruction of evidence, tamper and hamper the probe.

Apart from Waze, the NIA has arrested dismissed policemen inspector Sunil Mane, assistant inspector Riyazuddin Kazi, and constable Vinayak Shinde. Naresh Gor, an alleged bookie, has also been held.

The agency claims their involvement in the planting of explosives in an SUV, which was parked outside the Ambani residence on February 25, to threaten the family and that subsequently a threat letter, claimed to be by the Jaish-ul-Hind, had emerged demanding money.

The application filed through special public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves and NIA superintendent Vikram Khalate further states a deeper probe into “terror involvement” is required.

The five men have also been booked on charges of murdering Thane-based car parts showroom owner, Mansukh Hiran, who was linked to the SUV. The NIA claims that Waze and Shinde were present at the meeting where it was planned to eliminate Hiran in March. Mane, the agency said, had posed as police officer “Tawde” to call him over and had handed him over to other co-conspirators. These co-conspirators, who killed Hiran, are yet to be named or arrested.

Special Judge Prashant Sitre will hear both the accused and the NIA this week before deciding on whether further time can be granted.

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