A special NIA court in Mumbai denied bail to former policeman Pradeep Sharma, one of the accused in the Antilia bomb scare and businessman Mansukh Hiran's murder case, by noting that "protectors of people's lives took away the life of a human".

Special NIA Judge A T Wankhede had, on February 16, rejected the bail plea of the former cop and the detailed order was made available on Tuesday.

As per the probe agency, Sharma "willingly and intentionally" entered into a well-organised criminal conspiracy with other accused, including dismissed policeman Sachin Waze, to execute the murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran.

Sharma, in his plea, had claimed the allegations against him in the charge sheet were limited to him being involved in the conspiracy of Hiran's murder, and that the NIA had no material to show he was involved in procuring or planting explosives in an SUV near the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25 last year.

Hiran, who had claimed the vehicle had been stolen from his possession, was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5 last year.

However, the Court, in its order, observed, prima-facie, the fact cannot be ruled out the conspiracy to eliminate Hiran was hatched as he was a weak link and under the apprehension of spilling the beans.

Thus, the act of commission of murder of Mansukh Hiran was preparatory to the act of putting the explosive laden vehicle (near the residence of businessman Mukesh Ambani) on Carmichael Road, the Court said.

Further, the Judge held that the gravity of the offence increases more when the perpetrators are police officials or retired ones like the accused.

Prima-facie, the offence was an outcome of a pre-planned conspiracy and that too hatched by the police officers. Therefore, the offence is of immense serious nature, it said.

"The protector of the life of people themselves take away the life of a human," the Court added.

The judge said sufficient material has been brought on record by the prosecution to show prima-facie involvement of the applicant/accused in the offence.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested Sharma in June last year.

With PTI inputs