CCTV footage shows that suspended police officer Sachin Vaze and deceased businessman Mansukh Hiran had met on February 17, the day a Scorpio in Hiran's possession was 'stolen', an official of the Maharashtra ATS said on Friday. The same Scorpio, laden with gelatin sticks, was found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house on February 25.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad, which is probing Hiran's suspicious death, has recovered CCTV footage of a spot near Chhhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai which showed Vaze and Hiran sitting in a Mercedes, the official said.
Incidentally, the NIA, which is probing the recovery of the explosives-laden SUV, seized the same Mercedes car, allegedly being used by Vaze, after arresting him. The CCTV footage showed that Hiran and Vaze were in the car for about 10 minutes.
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 CCTV footage showed Vaze leaving in Mercedes from police commissioner's office. Hiran is seen walking towards the car when it is parked outside CSMT. Both sit inside and ten minutes later Hiran steps out and walks away while Vaze drives back to the commissioner's office.
The ATS suspects that Hiran handed over the keys of Scorpio to Vaze during this meeting, sources said.
On February 25, the Scorpio was found parked near Ambani's residence `Antilia' with gelatin sticks and a threat letter.
Vaze was arrested by the NIA on March 13 for his alleged role in parking the SUV near Ambani's residence.
The NIA had earlier this week seized a black Mercedes car from a parking lot near CSMT and seized Rs 5 lakh in cash, note-counting machine and some 'incriminating' documents. Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5. His family alleged that Vaze had a role in his death.
NIA to investigate Mansukh Hiran's murder case
The murder case of Mansukh Hiran is likely to be transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Under NIA section 8, if the agency is investigating a crime, then it can also investigate any other case related to the involvement of the same offender and also if the same offender is involved in another crime, ATS chief Jayjit Singh has said.
The case is likely to be transferred on Saturday.
(With inputs from PTI)