A Mitsubishi Outlander vehicle, previously owned by suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze, has been traced by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team to Kamothe, Navi Mumbai. Though the vehicle is registered in Vaze's name, he claimed that he had sold the said vehicle to one of his colleagues from the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU). Meanwhile, NIA is also examining a prime witness, who had reportedly provided SIM cards used in the crime to bookie Naresh Gor.
The Free Press Journal had first reported about the investigating agency’s search for the vehicle in its report on Saturday. "Our team traced the Outlander to Kamothe. The said vehicle was previously owned by Vaze and he told us that he had sold the said vehicle to one of his colleagues and the colleague had also paid an initial amount of Rs 1.50 lakh for the vehicle. We have not seized the vehicle so far. We are also examining a businessman from Gujarat, who was instrumental in providing SIM cards to Naresh Gor, which were subsequently used in the crime by Vaze. The said businessman is one of the witnesses in our case and his statement was earlier recorded by Maharashtra ATS," said an official, requesting anonymity.
NIA had been making several recoveries and seizing devices and vehicles used by Vaze in connection with the planting of a gelatin sticks-laden SUV near the residence of Mukesh Ambani and auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiran's murder cases. On Sunday, Vaze had led an NIA team to Mithi river in Bandra-Kurla Complex where a team of 11 divers had recovered a printer, two CPUs, a laptop, two number plates with the same registration number on them, 2 DVRs, hard disk and other items from the river.
The agency sources suspect that the recovered printer and laptop could be the ones used to print a typed threat letter, which was placed inside the gelatin sticks-laden SUV near the residence of Ambani on February 25. The NIA team had videographed the entire search operation and had sent the seized items for forensic analysis. The agency had also taken custody of the Volvo car that was seized by the ATS recently during Hiran's death probe case.
Hiran had claimed that his Scorpio had been stolen from his possession a week before the SUV was found at Carmichael Road. Hiran was later found dead on March 5 in Thane. Investigation into his death was being probed by Maharashtra ATS till the probe was handed over to the NIA on March 21.
NIA has also taken over the custody of Naresh Gor and convicted police constable Vinayak Shinde for allegedly helping Vaze in Hiran's murder.