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

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(Eds: adding probe details) Mumbai, Mar 19 (PTI) CCTV footage showed that suspended police officer Sachin Waze and businessman Mansukh Hiran had met the day a Scorpio in Hiran's possession was `stolen', and Waze later tried to destroy evidence against him, investigators claimed on Friday.

The same Scorpio was found with explosives inside near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house on February 25 and Waze is at the centre of the probe being carried out by the National Investigation Agency in the matter.

According to NIA officials, Waze, suspected to have played role in parking the SUV near Ambani's house, had used fake vehicle registration plates to conceal his movements.

Later he tried to destroy them by dumping in creeks, but during the probe two number plates were recovered, said an official.

Further, he tried to tamper with CCTV footage at the housing society in Thane where he lived and at some other places by obtaining Digital Video Recording so as to conceal his movements while committing the crime, the official added.

As per an official of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, which is probing Hiran's suspicious death, CCTV footage near the Chhatrapati 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.

Inspector General Anil Shukla and Superintendent of Police Vikram Khalate of the NIA 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.

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