BMW case: Main accused Mihir was drunk at time of crash: Cops; accused driver sent to jail

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Mumbai, Jul 11 (PTI) Mihir Shah, the main accused in the BMW hit-and-run case and son of a Shiv Sena politician, was under the influence of alcohol when he allegedly rammed his luxury car into a two-wheeler here, killing a woman, a Mumbai police official said on Thursday.

A probe team of the police recreated the accident scene in the early hours of the day to get more information about the chain of events and also confronted Mihir Shah (24) with his family driver and co-accused Rajrishi Bidawat, who was in the car at the time of the horrific crash in central Mumbai's Worli area.

In a related to development, Bidawat was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Sewree court) S P Bhosale at the end of his police remand on Thursday and sent to 14-day judicial custody.

According to the police, after the crash Bidawat swapped driver's seat with Mihir Shah allegedly at the instruction of the latter's politician father Rajesh Shah.

Police sought further extension of the driver's custody, saying the investigation in the case was still in progress. However, the court declined the police custody extension plea and sent the driver to jail.

A woman, Kaveri Nakhwa (45), was killed and her husband Pradip injured after their two-wheeler was hit from the rear by a BMW allegedly driven by Mihir Shah at 5:30am on Sunday in Worli's arterial Anni Besant Road.

The probe has found that Mihir Shah sped off towards the Bandra Worli Sea Link even as the woman remained on the bonnet of the car and then got entangled in its wheels for a distance of a more that 1.5 kilometres.

The prime accused, who was arrested from Virar Phata in neighbouring Palghar district on Tuesday, is in cop custody till July 16 and being questioned by a team of the Worli police, the official said.

"Our probe has found he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. The crime scene involving the car hitting the two-wheeler and then dragging the victim was recreated in order to get more details," the official explained.

"Mihir Shah and his driver Bidawat were confronted to get more clarity about the incident," he added.

Mihir Shah, his father Rajesh Shah and their family chauffeur Bidawat have been named as accused in the high-profile case. The accused persons have been booked under various sections, including 105 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS).

Rajesh Shah, a politician from Palghar district, was granted bail by a court on Monday after his arrest.

During arguments in the court on Bidawat's police remand extension plea, cops told the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate that Mihir Shah had picked up four beer cans from a bar in suburban Malad hours before the accident and they needed the driver’s custody to recover them.

Prima facie, police told the court, the role of the accused is made out in the case.

During the remand hearing, police told the court that both accused -- Mihir Shah and Bidawa -- had confessed to their involvement in the crime during custodial interrogation.

Mihir Shah and Bidawat were questioned separately and again face-to-face. They confessed to committing the crime, police said.

The court was told the police took Bidawat and Mihir Shah to the accident spot for further probe. It has also come to light that Mihir Shah had driven the car by himself from Girgaon to the entry point of the sea link at Worli, where the incident took place, police said.

Public prosecutors Ravindra Patil and Bharti Bhosle sought further extension of the driver’s police custody, saying the investigation in the high-profile case was still in progress.

Further, the BMW car’s registration number plate was yet to be recovered, they said.

Defence advocates Ayush Pasbola and Sudhir Bhardwaj opposed the plea for police remand extension, arguing the investigation in the case was over and hence Bidawat’s custody was not required.

Since the first remand, the police have been saying that they need to recover the car’s number plate and they cannot seek an extension in custody on the same ground, the defence submitted.

On the recovery of the beer cans, Pasbola said the police had already recorded the statements of the relevant person and the driver’s custody was not required for it. PTI DC/AVI VT BNM NR RSY