SUV case: NIA recreates crime scene with Waze near Ambani's house

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(Eds: combining related stories) Mumbai, Mar 20 (PTI) The NIA took suspended Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze to the spot near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence here where an explosives-laden Scorpio was found and recreated the crime scene, a police official said on Saturday.

While the NIA officials recreated the crime scene as part of their probe on Friday, the central agency was handed over the probe of the Mansukh Hiran death case, where also Waze is facing allegations, on Saturday.

On Friday night, officials of the National Investigation Agency took Waze to the spot on Carmichael road in south Mumbai and asked him to walk while wearing a white kurta.

The NIA suspects that the person wearing a kurta seen in the CCTV footage when the SUV was parked was Waze.

The Scorpio was found parked near Ambani's multi- storey residence 'Antilia' with gelatin sticks and a threat letter on February 25.

Waze was arrested by the NIA in connection with the case last Saturday. He was later suspended.

In an imporant development, the Union home ministry handed over the probe of Mansukh Hiran death case to the NIA.

Thane-based businessman Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV, was found dead in a creek on March 5. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) was probing the case earlier.

Hiran's wife has accused Waze of involvement in her husband's suspicious death.

The NIA has so far questioned several officials of the Crime Intelligence Unit of city police, to which Waze was attached.

Meanwhile, the Forensic Science Laboratory at Mumbai's Kalina found in its preliminary analysis that the gelatin sticks recovered from the Scorpio could have caused only a low-intensity blast and there was little chance of that causing any big damage, an official said on Saturday.

This kind of explosive is used for digging wells or road construction work, he said.

The FSL was also analysing the viscera samples of Hiran to ascertain if any drug was given to him before his death, the official said.

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, meanwhile, made a sensational allegation that Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh had asked Waze to help collect funds from restaurants, bars and other establishments in Mumbai.

Deshmukh denied the allegations.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra ATS moved the special NIA court here seeking custody of Waze in the Hiran case.

The plea, however, seemed to have become pointless as the NIA has now taken over the case. PTI ZA AVI KRK KRK