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Mumbai Hit-and-Run Case: Mihir Shah Arrested

Mumbai Hit-and-Run Case: Mihir Shah Arrested

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NEW DELHI, July 9: The main accused in the high-profile Mumbai hit-and-run accident Mihir Shah, the son of the Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena leader Rajesh Shah, was arrested from Thane district on Tuesday evening, about 72 hours after he hit a two-wheeler from behind killing the woman pillion-rider.

A total of 12 people, including Shah’s mother and two sisters, were also taken into custody. Police believe the mother and sisters helped Shah to evade arrest for over 72 hours. The cops must now decide if the three women – arrested from Shahpur – would be listed as accused.

The hit-and-run accident occurred early on July 7 in Mumbai’s Worli area. The 24-year old Mihir Shah driving a BMW car after consuming liquor in a bar in Juhu with friends, with the family driver Rajrishi Bidawat sitting next to him, rammed against a scooter driven by a fisherman Pradik Nakhwa with his wife Kaveri riding pillion and heading for the fish market to sale fish in Worli.

After the car hit the two-wheeler, the rider fell on the road but the deceased woman landed on the car’s bonnet. The vehicle dragged her for a distance and then drove off. Mihir Shah and his driver Bidawat, abandoned the car a few kilometres away and fled. The woman was killed on the spot while Pradik escaped with minor injuries.

The police had formed multiple teams to catch Mihir Shah, who was eventually tracked down to an apartment in Virar, which is around 65 km from Mumbai. He was taken to the Worli Police Station. Mihir’s father, who was in touch with his son after the accident, was arrested on July 7 and released on bail on July 8. Bidawat is under police custody.

Sources within the Mumbai Police confirmed Mihir Shah’s arrest from the neighbouring district and is being brought to Mumbai to produce him in the court to seek custody.

The Mumbai Police had issued a Look out Circular on Sunday evening and had formed six teams to trace the absconding accused. Mr Bidawat and Mr Rajesh Shah were arrested by the Worli police for allegedly assisting the accused to flee. The Sena leader owns the car. The police had registered a case under multiple sections of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In a predictable political addition to the narrative, Congress leader Varsha Gaikwad turned up at the police station, declaring “this is not a hit-and-run… it is murder” and demanding appropriate charges. “… if he had stopped the car, then this would not have happened. Instead, he drove the vehicle fast and dragged her for a long time and she died…” she said. She also hit out over the delay in the arrest.

“Police took three days to arrest the accused… now alcohol can’t be traced in his body. Why did this happen? He should have been arrested on the same day…” she said.

Mihir Shah was allegedly driving the BMW – after spending ₹ 18,730 at a Juhu bar, where he partied for hours with four friends – when it rammed into the two-wheeler at 5.30 am on Sunday. Shortly before Shah was arrested today the bar – the Vice – Global Tapas – was sealed.

Hours before Mihir’s arrest, the police believed that Shah, his mother, and his sister had gone underground together after the accident, and that the latter two may have helped him hide. The family driver Bidawat was today sent to police custody till Thursday.

Police sources have revealed a rough sequence of the events leading to the accident. According to the cops, on Sunday Mihir Shah left home for a party at the Vice – Global Tapas Bar. At that time he was driving a Mercedes registered to his father. Four friends accompanied him. The five were at the bar till 11 pm. At 1.15 am (on Monday) Mihir Shah drove his friends – in the Mercedes – back home. At 4 am he told Bidawat to take him for a ‘joy ride’ on Marine Drive in the BMW.

At 5 am, after driving up and down Marine Drive, the car was turned home. Police believe the car reached Kalanagar when Shah swapped seats with Bidawat. If true, this means Shah was driving the car when it hit the bike at 5.30 am.

Horrific details have emerged of the crash, including CCTV footage that indicates Ms Nakhwa was dragged for 1.5 km after the collision before the BMW was stopped. The police said the footage also indicated Shah then exchanged seats with Bidawat, pulled the woman’s body out from under the car, and left it on the road. The car was then driven away.

But, in an even more horrific turn of events, the driver reportedly reversed the car to run over her body one more time before speeding off and out of the CCTV’s field of vision, the police said. Bidawat was, therefore, “aware of his actions and helped the other accused”, the police told a court that questioned the culpable homicide charge against the driver.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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