Signalling a major breakthrough in the SUV case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday managed to retrieve some electronic devices and other key evidence from the Mithi River in which they were allegedly dumped by arrested Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze.
The NIA took Vaze and a team of divers to the river’s branch near the Bandra Kurla Complex where the articles crucial to the probe were said to be dumped weeks ago, and a search was launched.
NIA officials, however, indicated that though significant, the recoveries have yet to be pinned onto Vaze or his associates for which further probes would be conducted.
The divers, after several rounds searching in the murky waters of the river, finally managed to recover two computer CPUs or hard drives, two digital video recorders (DVRs), a laptop and some registration number plates of unknown vehicles.
The evidence fished out on Sunday will be sent to the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory for analysis and to recover whatever data possible that could assist the investigations.
The NIA is currently probing the sensitive twin cases of planting of a SUV Scorpio with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat note near Antilia, the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25, followed by the death of SUV owner, Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran on March 5, sparking a nationwide political furore.
The destruction and possible dumping of the evidence first came to light during the interrogation of Vaze’s colleague API Riyazuddin Kazi and senior officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Nitin Alaknure in connection with the case.
Earlier, the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), which was probing the Hiran death case, had also said that several evidence including mobile phones, SIM cards, CCTV footage and other things that were allegedly destroyed to cover up the crime tracks.
Taking serious cognizance of the revelations, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant on Saturday questioned the NIA over the alleged disappearance of the DVR of the Mumbai Police Commissionerate (the Police HQ) near Crawford Market.
He also sought to know why the NIA has not yet questioned any senior officers till date, including former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh and others who could be in the know of things.
Currently in NIA custody till April 3, Vaze has strongly denied the NIA contentions and informed a special court last week that he had done no wrong but was being made “a scapegoat” in the case.