In a key development, CCTV footage showing suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze and convicted cop Vinayak Shinde travelling in a car three days before Mansukh Hiren was found dead, has surfaced. The black Audi was spotted on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link at around 7 pm on March 2. This is the eighth car linked to Vaze so far in connection with the Antilia bomb scare and the Mansukh Hiren death case.
So far, the agency has seized a Green Scorpio, white Innova, two black Mercedez Benz cars, a Land Cruiser Prado, a black Volvo, and a white Mitsubishi Outlander. As per sources, the same black Audi was regularly parked in the Mumbai Police Headquarters. The NIA is now examining footage from other CCTVs to ascertain the movement of the accused persons.
The CCTV footage which the NIA has been captured at a toll plaza, sources claimed. The central agency is yet to seize the Audi, they added.
The NIA conducted searches at a hotel and a club in south Mumbai and a flat in neighbouring Thane in connection with its probe into the case of an explosives-laden SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, an official said.
A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reached the Soni building, where the hotel and the club are situated, around 12.45 pm.
Customers and staff members of the hotel were asked to vacate the premises, located near the Babulnath temple.
During the search, the NIA sleuths also made enquiries with a few people at the club and the hotel, the official said. The probe team left the place after over three hours.
Suspended Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze, whom the NIA arrested last month in connection with the case, had been recently brought by the probe agency to the Babulnath area as part of its probe, sources said.
Another NIA team conducted searches at a flat in Mira Road area in Thane district. According to sources the flat was in a woman's possession and was locked for over two weeks.
The gelatin sticks found in the vehicle near Ambani's house had been procured by Vaze himself, NIA sources had claimed on Wednesday.
The NIA on Sunday recovered a laptop, a printer, two hard disks, two vehicle number plates, two digital video recorders (DVRs) and two CPUs from the Mithi river here with the help of divers.
The agency is probing the alleged role of Vaze in parking the explosives-laden SUV near Ambani's residence on February 25 and in the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
The body of Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV, was found in a creek in Mumbra town of neighbouring Thane district on March 5.
With PTI inputs