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NIA takes Vaze to crime scene; recovers CPUs, laptop, number plates from Bandra river

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), on Sunday took former Mumbai top cop and key suspect in the murder case of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, to the crime site and recovered crucial evidence from the Mithi river in Mumbai’s Bandra. 

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As per agency, the divers have recovered two CPUs, a laptop, CCTV DVR and a couple of vehicle number plates with the same registration number.

The DVR was allegedly removed from the housing society in Thane where Vaze lives. The arrested cop, who is the prime accused in the case, had allegedly thrown these items into the river, according to the NIA.

The NIA team took arrested cop Vaze to the spot around 3 PM, the official said, adding that the search is still underway.

“The NIA is taking the help of professional as well as local divers who know the Mithi river well. More evidence is likely to be recovered,” he said.

It is suspected that Assistant Police Inspector Riyazuddin Kaazi, who is close to Vaze, had told the NIA during his interrogation that all the cruicial evidence related to this case were thrown into the Mithi river. It was Kaazi who allegedly took away the DVR from Vaze’s housing society on the latter’s instructions. Kaazi, has been questioned by the NIA multiple times in recent past.

Earlier, the “encounter specialist” reportedly admitted to his role to NIA but not disclosed the motive. The investigating agency also learned that the SUV was not stolen, contrary to Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran’s FIR statement, but was parked at Vaze’s housing society in Thane.

Hiran, the owner of the vehicle, had told the media that the SUV was stolen on February 17 from Mulund-Airoli Road where he had parked it after it broke down due to some technical snag. However, what NIA’s probe claims that “someone” opened the car with its key, drove it and parked it in assistant police inspector Vaze’s housing society Saket in Thane. Later, the car was found near Ambani’s residence.

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According to sources, police inspector Vaze had collected the digital video recording of CCTV camera from his housing society, which the NIA claims has been damaged. The sources also said that Vaze visited a shop that makes number plates and took away all digital evidence containing details of visitors and the register containing orders received.

It has been alleged that the number plate of the SUV, used in the case, belonged to a scooter. The shop is located opposite Hiran’s car accessories shop.

So far the investigation has revealed that, Hiran on February 18 lodged an FIR with the Vikhroli police alleging that while he was heading to Opera House, there was a technical snag in the Scorpio, so he parked the vehicle on the Eastern Express Highway and took an Ola cab to Crawford Market. A statement of the Ola driver has also been taken by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad, which is probing Hiran’s murder, that Hiran later changed his destination and went to meet someone whom he was referring to as “Sir” near CST. On March 5, the body of Hiran, a resident of Thane, was found in Mumbra creek.

Based on the available evidence, investigators suspect that on Vaze’s behalf, Hiran then allegedly handed over the Scorpio’s key to this “Sir”, who in turn took the car and parked it in Vaze’s housing society. The Scorpio was parked in Vaze’s housing society for nearly a week before it was found abandoned and laden with explosive gelatin sticks, outside Ambani’s house ‘Antilia’ on February 25. A bomb disposal squad had also reportedly found a handwritten letter addressed to the Reliance chairman and Nita Ambani in the SUV apart from explosives materials.

Meanwhile, the National Investigating Agency in its remand application stated that Vaze was part of a big conspiracy involving many others.

Vaze, a top cop of Mumbai police handling most of the high profile cases, was under a cloud for a custodial death in 2002. The case against him is still being heard, however, he was rehabilitated o force in June 2020, after being suspended for a while.

On Sunday, a special court turned Mumbai top cop Sachin Waze in National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) custody till March 25 in connection with the case related to the seizure of explosives-laden SUV found parked near Mukesh Ambani’s residence.

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