Waze, Hiran seen meeting on the day Scorpio was `stolen'

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(Eds: incorporating related stories) Mumbai, Mar 19 (PTI) CCTV footage shows that suspended police officer Sachin Waze and businessman Mansukh Hiran had met the day a Scorpio in Hiran's possession was `stolen', an official of the Maharashtra ATS claimed on Friday.

The same Scorpio was found with gelatin sticks inside near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house on February 25.

In a related development, two senior officials of the National Investigation Agency, which is probing the case related to the explosives-laden SUV, met the Mumbai police commissioner.

A team from Pune's forensic science laboratory also arrived in Mumbai in connection with the probe, police said.

As per an official of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, which is probing Hiran's suspicious death, CCTV footage near the Chhhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai showed Hiran and Waze sitting in a Mercedes car for about 10 minutes on February 17.

The NIA later seized this same Mercedes after arresting Waze, he said.

Hiran had claimed that on February 17 while he was heading for south Mumbai from his house in Thane, the steering of the Scorpio jammed, so he left it on Mulund-Airoli road and proceeded in a cab. Next day he found the SUV was missing, he said.

The ATS suspects that Hiran handed over the keys of Scorpio to Waze, sources said.

On February 25, the Scorpio was found parked near Ambani's residence `Antilia' with gelatin sticks and a threat letter.

Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5.

His family alleged that Waze had a role in his death.

Waze was arrested by the NIA on March 13 for his alleged role in parking the SUV near Ambani's residence.

Meanwhile, Inspector General Anil Shukla and Superintendent of Police Vikram Khalate of the National Investigation Agency met newly-appointed city police commissioner Hemant Nagrale on Friday.

The NIA officials spent around 30 minutes at the police commissioner's office. It was the first visit by senior officials of the central agency to the commissioner's office after Nagrale replaced Param Bir Singh two days ago.

The NIA has also questioned several officials of the Crime Intelligence Unit of city police to which Waze was attached and seized a total of five high-end vehicles including two Mercedes cars.

State BJP leader Pravin Darekar said leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance were making contradictory statements over assistant inspector Waze's arrest and the transfer of Param Bir Singh.

Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed all was well but home minister Anil Deshmukh of the NCP said some grave mistakes led to Singh being shunted out, he said.

A special NIA court in the city on Friday rejected Waze's lawyer's pleato meet him privately while he remains in the NIA's custody till March 25. PTI ZA ND AVI BNM KRK KRK KRK