MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday alleged that the NIA taking over the probe into the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence here amounted to demoralising the Mumbai Police and creating instability in Maharashtra.
Talking to reporters here, Raut also said Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze, arrested late Saturday night by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), is an "honest, successful officer and a good investigator".
"The state government's prestige is at stake in this case," the Rajya Sabha member said.
Meanwhile, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told reporters in Nagpur that the ATS and NIA were probing the recovery of the explosives-laden vehicle and the case of Hiran's death.
"The truth will come out and action will be taken accordingly," he said.
When asked if Waze would be suspended, Deshmukh did not comment.
A Scorpio found parked near Ambani's house on Carmichael Road in south Mumbai on February 25 contained some gelatin sticks and a threat letter.
Waze, an "encounter specialist", is also facing heat in the murder case of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran who was in possession of the Scorpio.
Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane district on March 5.
The state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is investigating the Hiran murder case.
It had registered an FIR against unidentified persons days after Hiran's body was found.
Raut said the Mumbai Police were capable of investigating both the cases and involvement of central agencies "wasn't required".
"They (Mumbai Police) are capable and professional. They can't be pressurised. The NIA taking over the probe amounts to creating pressure and terror of the central government by lowering the morale of the police and destabilising the state," he alleged.
The Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson further charged that Waze's arrest by the NIA amounted to encroaching upon the rights of the police and an attack on their capabilities.
Raut said state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had handed over the probe to the ATS, but the NIA entered the scene to probe the recovery of 20 gelatin sticks in the Scorpio.
To a question on sections under which Waze has been charged, Raut said, "There is a difference between charges being levelled and the charges being proved."
"The state government's prestige is at stake in this case," he further said.
Raut also said the government should take "very seriously" the issue of sensitive information reaching the opposition leaders first.
The opposition should explain what the CBI's probe found into the case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death which the Mumbai Police had not investigated.
In his weekly column 'Rokhtok' in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', Raut said it was not a good sign for the state government that Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis had "access first" to all confidential documents in case of the explosives-laden SUV and Hiran's mysterious death.
He said the present controversy has enabled the opposition to "regain its lost confidence".
"What was happening in the state currently was not good for its prestige," he said.
Raut said Sanjay Rathod had to resign as state minister over the Puja Chavan suicide case, while the opposition targeted Sachin Waze in the case Manuskh Hiran's death.
"But, the opposition is not ready to speak on the cases of suicide of (interior designer) Anvay Naik and (Dadra and Nagar Haveli Lok Sabha member) Mohan Delkar," he said.
Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and two others were arrested on November 4 last year by Raigad police in connection with the suicide of Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018. They were granted bail by the Supreme Court a few days later. Delkar (58) was found dead in a hotel in south Mumbai last month.
Dubbing the recovery of gelatin sticks from the vehicle found near Ambani's residence and Hiran's death as a "mystery", Raut said, "But, there is a difference between mystery and truth."
He said Hiran left his house for the last time saying a police official called "Tawde" had called him to Kandivali police station.
"But, there is no official by that name in Kandivali. All this is very complicated. An external force is controlling some groups in the Mumbai and Thane police forces," Raut claimed, adding that it is not good if factionalism in the police force shows up again.