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Mihir Shah Remanded to 7 Days Police Custody, Father Suspended from Shiv Sena

Mihir Shah Remanded to 7 Days Police Custody, Father Suspended from Shiv Sena

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NEW DELHI, July 10: The Mumbai high-profile BMW hit-and-run accused Mihir Shah, who was arrested from an apartment in Virar on Tuesday evening, was on Wednesday sent to police custody till July 16.

His father Rajesh Shah, the deputy leader of Palghar district of the Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena was also suspended from the party.

Sources said Mihir Shah has admitted of being driving the luxury car when it rammed a two-wheeler in Worli at 5.30 am on Sunday killing a 45-year-old woman and injuring her husband. However, Shah, 24, denied reports that he was drunk.

The police had sought “maximum possible custody” of Mihir Shah, arguing he tried to destroy evidence after the accident and evade arrest by altering his appearance; sources had earlier said Shah exchanged multiple phone calls with his father and partner after the collision to plan his escape.

This included taking an auto-rickshaw from the scene of the collision to his partner’s home in Goregaon, where he spent two hours, and then jumping to an apartment in Virar, from where he was arrested. The mobile phone of a friend helped the police to trace Mihir in the Virar apartment after he and his other family members had switched off their phones.

Authorities believe Mihir Shah was helped by his mother and two sisters, both of whom have also been arrested. Shah’s partner may be summoned for questioning and could also be detained. The police told the court it needs custody of Mihir Shah to work out how he managed to evade arrest for over 72 hours and identify all those, including family members, who helped him. Shah also needs to be questioned, the police said, about the vehicle’s ownership details.

The cops also said Shah cut his hair short and trimmed his beard. This, the police said, underlines the serious nature of the crime and the allegations against Mihir Shah, and insisted, “Hence an investigation is required. The number plate (of the BMW, which reportedly broke on impact and was discarded by Shah) has also not been found.” “The accused cut his hair and beard… it was an attempt to mislead the police.”

Shah’s lawyers countered the prosecution by pointing out the cops already have substantial material, including the matching statements of the main accused and the family driver and video footage. Rajrishi Bidawat, the driver, was in the car at the time of the collision. He had reportedly been told (by the father, Rajesh Shah) to hand control of the car to Mihir Shah 90 minutes before the crash.

After the crash, an official said, Shah called and spoke to his girlfriend 40 times, within a short span of about two hours. After leaving the car in Kala Nagar, the 24-year-old hailed an auto and went to his girlfriend’s house in Goregaon. Police said he “rested” there for two hours while his girlfriend informed Shah’s sister about the accident. His sister went to Goregaon and then took Shah to their house in Borivali.

From there, Shah’s mother, Meena, two sisters – Puja and Kinjal – and a friend, Avdeep, left for a resort in Shahpur, nearly 70 km from Mumbai. They hid there while the police kept looking for Shah, having arrested his father Rajesh Shah and the driver, Bidawat.

On Monday night, Shah left for the family’s house in Virar and, the next morning, Avdeep turned on his phone for 15 minutes, revealing his location. This led to Shah’s arrest. While Shah was produced in court on Wednesday and sent to police custody till July 16, police said they may also detain his girlfriend to question her. An official said the questions will centre around what information about the accident was shared with her by Shah, and whether he was drunk when he spoke to her and met her.

Meanwhile, sections of the bar in Mumbai’s Juhu that served alcohol to Mihir and his friends the night before the accident, were demolished by city officials Wednesday morning, 24 hours after Excise Department officials sealed the property. Mihir is below the legal age of 25 years for drinking in Maharashtra. Apart from serving liquor to underage persons, the Vice-Global Tapas Bar was also sealed for serving alcohol without a proper licence and for illegal construction on the property. These illegal bits were demolished.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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