BMW hit-and-run: Mihir Shah changed his look to evade arrest, police tell court

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Mumbai, July10 (PTI) Mihir Shah, prime accused in the BMW hit-and-run case, changed his appearance to evade arrest, the prosecution on Wednesday told a court here which remanded him in police custody till July 16.

Shah, the son of Shiv Sena leader Rajesh Shah, had committed a "cruel heartless crime", and they wanted to probe who helped him when he was on the run for more than two days after the early Sunday morning accident, police told the court.

Mihir, 24, was arrested on Tuesday from Virar near Mumbai, two days after he allegedly rammed his BMW car into a two-wheeler in Mumbai's Worli area, killing Kaveri Nakhwa (45) who was riding pillion with her husband Pradeep Nakhwa. According to police, Kaveri was dragged for 1.5 km before the accused stopped the car.

On Wednesday, Shah was produced before chief metropolitan magistrate (Sewree court) S P Bhosale.

Pressing for his remand for the maximum possible period, public prosecutors Ravindra Patil and Bharti Bhosle said that he escaped from the crime scene with the help of co-accused, and the police wanted to find out who helped him abscond and stay hidden.

There were discrepancies in the statements of Mihir Shah and his driver and co-accused Raj Bidawat, and the number plate of the BMW was yet to be recovered, the prosecution said.

Police also needed to probe if Mihir Shah tried to destroy evidence by contacting anyone after the incident, it said.

He changed his appearance by cutting his hair and shaving off the beard to evade arrest, and it was necessary to find out who helped him change his look, the prosecution said.

Police also wanted to investigate whether the accused has a driving license, it said, claiming that after his arrest, Shah did not cooperate with the investigation and gave misleading information.

His custodial interrogation was needed for recovering more evidence, the prosecution added.

Shah's lawyers Ayush Pasbola and Sudhir Bhardwaj argued that the entire case revolved around the arrest of the person who was driving the car.

The car was recovered and the number plate must have fallen off somewhere near the accident site, advocate Pasbola said, adding that it was not the police's case that the accused took it away.

Police were demanding Shah's remand for confronting him with his driver, but Bidawat was in police custody for sufficient period, the defence said.

Most of the investigation was complete and Shah's custody was not needed, the lawyers argued.

The court, after hearing both the sides, remanded Mihir Shah in police custody for seven days.

His father and Sena leader Rajesh Shah, accused of helping him escape, is out on bail.

Driver Bidawat, who was in the car and allegedly took the driver's seat after the accident in order to shield Mihir, has already been remanded in police custody till July 11. PTI AVI NP KRK