MUMBAI: The NIA on Wednesday conducted searches at the residence of suspended Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze in connection with the recovery of an explosives- laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house last month, an official said on Wednesday.
A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted the searches at Waze's place in Saket area of neighbouring Thane city in the afternoon, he said.
"Later, another NIA team took Waze to his residence from Mumbai around 8 pm as part of the probe," the agency official said.
"The team, which took Waze to his house, was there for some time and left for Mumbai again," he added.
Before that, the investigators took Waze along and visited Babulnath area of south Mumbai, the Mahim creek and some other spots as part of the investigation, he said.
Waze is at the focus of the NIA probe in the recovery of the Scorpio with explosives near Ambani's house on February 25.
Arrested in the case on March 13 for his alleged role in the crime, Waze was attached to the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) till recently.
He was suspended after NIA arrested him.
The NIA has already seized a black Mercedes car, which was being used by Waze, from a parking lot near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), and Rs 5 lakh in cash, note- counting machine, two number plates and some clothes were recovered from it.
The investigative agency has recovered some "incriminating" documents and electronic evidence, such asa laptop, iPad and mobile phones from Waze's office, officials have said.
The wife of businessman Mansukh Hiran, who had claimed that the Scorpio was stolen from his possession and who died mysteriously, has alleged that the SUV was being used by Waze for some time.
The SUV case was taken over by the NIA following Hiran's death.
Under fire over the handling of Ambani security scare probe, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday transferred city Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh to the low-key Home Guard and appointed senior IPS officer Hemant Nagrale in his place.
The kurta that was worn by the person, who was spotted parking an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence, was set on fire using kerosene to destroy the evidence, an official said on Wednesday.
"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, which the accused person had worn underneath the PPE kit while parking the Scorpio car (near Ambani's house) on the night on February 25," the NIA official said.
According to the official, the NIA suspects that the person wearing PPE kit and a kurta underneath, captured on the CCTV footage recorded at the spot- at Carmichael Road- on the day of incident is Sachin Waze, although it is being confirmed.
According to the investigation so far, Waze told the NIA officials that he was involved in the entire episode to regain his old fame and name which he had earlier.
"However, the NIA will investigate it throughly," the official said.
"So far, the NIA has recovered three vehicle, the Scorpio, an Innova and the Mercedes. We are also in search of one more Mercedes and a Skoda car," the official said.
Meanwhile, a team of NIA officials on Wednesday evening took Sachin Waze along and visited some spots in Babulnath area of south Mumbai and later also took him to the Mahim creek as part of the investigation.
Waze was working at the instruction of "some people" and that needs to be found out, officials associated with the probe said on condition of anonymity.
The Mumbai Police officer was the second investigator in the case related to the recovery of an explosive-laden vehicle and a threat letter near Ambani's residence on February 25.
They said that evidence about involvement of some more people had surfaced during the investigation and soon they would be called for questioning.
A letter from the terror outfit Jaish-Ul-Hind, posted on Telegram app, demanding ransom and claiming responsibility for the incident will also be investigated.
The Delhi Police's special cell has already taken into custody Tehseen Akhtar, an associate of the Indian Mujahideen who is an expertise on fabricating improvised explosive devices.
The officials said some evidences have been collected after questioning Akhtar and seizing the mobile instrument used to post the threat letter on Telegram app, and Waze will soon be confronted with these.
The officials said that the case had virtually been cracked and soon the entire conspiracy behind the case would be unravelled.
An assistant police inspector, Waze, who was reinstated in service after 16 years of suspension in a case related to the murder of Khwaja Yunus in 2003 and destruction of evidence, allegedly agreed to be part of the conspiracy behind the incident to earn back the respect that he might have lost due to his prolonged suspension, officials said.
Khwaja Yunus, a suspect in the 2002 Ghatkopar blast case, was killed in custody.
On the fateful day, Waze used his own government vehicle to escort the explosive laden vehicle and himself drove it to the scene of the crime.
The vehicle was seized by the NIA on March 14.
The officials said investigation regarding actual owner of the Mercedes car will also be established during the probe.
The NIA had said in the court that there is sufficient prima facie evidence to show the involvement of the accused in the conspiracy of the crime and the conspiracy angle needs to be thoroughly probed, besides establishing identity of the co-conspirators.