Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials on Wednesday took suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze to the spot where the gelatin sticks-laden SUV was placed on the night of February 24-25 on Carmichael Road, to recreate the scene of the crime.
They also visited Babulnath, Mahim Creek, Vaze's residence and the places where the vehicle registration numbers plates were obtained in Thane and used in the crime, as part of the investigation.
The Central agency had, on Tuesday, seized a Mercedes car being used by Vaze from a parking lot near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). From this car, the agency recovered Rs 5 lakh in cash, a note-counting machine, two vehicle registration number plates, some partially burnt clothes and a bottle of kerosene.
"While investigating the purpose of the kerosene bottle kept in the car, it came to light that it was used to set on fire the kurta worn by the accused person underneath the PPE suit while parking the Scorpio (near the Ambanis’ house) on the night of February 25," the NIA official said.
Sources in the agency told The Free Press Journal that during the searches in Vaze's cabin at the Criminal Intelligence Unit office on Tuesday, officials found his bag which had the key, insurance documents and invoice of the Mercedes car. “The said car was bought by a private company for Rs 28 lakh in February,” said an official.
Meanwhile, the former owner of the Mercedes car which was allegedly used by Vaze and seized by the NIA, said he would ‘fully cooperate’ with the probe agency were it to approach him for any information related to the vehicle.
Saransh Bhawsar, a resident of Dhule district, told mediapersons that he had sold his vehicle last month through an online portal and claimed he did not know the person who purchased it. Bhawsar said he did not know Vaze and had heard his name for the first time on Tuesday. Bhawsar said that even though he no longer owned the car, he kept getting called by people who know him after the vehicle was seized by the NIA.
Meanwhile, in connection with its probe, the NIA questioned Mumbai crime branch officer Riyazuddin Kazi for the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday. Another assistant police inspector (API) of the crime branch, Prakash Howal, also appeared before the NIA on Wednesday afternoon to get his statement recorded.
Kazi had, on February 27, collected the Digital Video Records (DVR) of CCTVs from the housing society in Thane's Saket area where Vaze lived. The NIA suspects that the DVR was collected with the intention to destroy evidence which could have implicated Vaze. Kazi had also allegedly procured the fake number plates found in the Scorpio, the official claimed.
(With inputs from PTI)