Following our reports, commissioner steps in, as police issue lookout circular against 23-year-old suspect who ‘flung’ Thane executive off Western Express Highway flyover
The BMW car, which was lying in an Andheri garage for nearly a month, was taken away by the driver on Tuesday
A series of reports in mid-day providing vital leads in the hit-and-run death involving a BMW car and the sluggish investigation have prompted Mumbai police chief Vivek Phansalkar to order a high-level probe. Somnath Gharge, the zonal DCP, will now supervise the case that has been registered with the Samta Nagar police. The investigating officer, who made no headway even after a month, has been changed, while cops have issued a lookout circular against the 23-yr-old suspect.
The police said the young driver, whose parents live in Dubai, is a Mira Road resident and a student of a Bandra college. He allegedly has a history of rash driving.
In the early hours of August 29, Thane resident Harry Bastian was hit by a BMW car on a flyover on the Western Express Highway in Kandivli. He was flung off the bridge, on the road below where he died. The same day, a BMW car was brought to a garage in Andheri to fix its damaged fender.
The police said the suspect hasn’t returned to his home ever since mid-day published the photographs of the BMW car with the damage on its front left side.
“All arrangements have been made so that he may not escape the country. We will arrest him soon,” said Additional CP (North) Virendra Mishra. Narendra Shinde, the senior inspector at Samata Nagar police station, said the suspect is still in India.
On mid-day’s investigative reports that have revitalised the case, DCP Gharge said, “I must appreciate your work, as the car’s number plate is not legible in the CCTV camera footage. But your legwork would be helpful in our probe.”
Gharge said the case file has been taken away from Assistant Inspector Vinod Chimada and handed over to the new investigating officer (IO)—inspector Ganesh Pawar.
“We are following all the possible steps to track down the BMW driver who is on the run. We have kept his mobile number on surveillance and his social media accounts are being tracked by the investigating team,” the DCP said.
The police are also planning to record the statement of the Andheri garage owner who had approached the MIDC police after reading a report in mid-day on Monday, but the cops didn’t entertain him.
Victim Harry Bastian with his wife Jyoti, who is now the only breadwinner of the family
“Samata Nagar police were not approached by anyone and by the time the investigating officer learnt about the BMW car, the suspect had already removed the vehicle from there. So, we will also record the statement of the garage owner,” said DCP Gharge. “Our first and top-most priority is to track down the suspect who is on the run,” he assured, adding, “I would also request you to support us to track him.”
Sources said the cops will scan the footage of multiple CCTV cameras installed on the stretch of WEH where the accident took place. Up until now, the police had been citing hazy visuals from one CCTV camera to justify their inability to crack the case.
Hours after the death of 32-year-old Bastian, a BMW car owner took his vehicle with a damaged fender to an Andheri garage. It remained there for nearly a month over a pending bill of R1.5 lakh.
When mid-day spoke to him last, the suspect had denied his involvement in any hit-and-run. “My car got damaged in Borivli in the first week of August and I visited the garage in the second week of last month,” he had said. But he cleared his pending bill and removed the car from the garage after learning that mid-day had contacted the garage owner to get the pictures of his car .
No info from police: Family
Harry’s wife Jyoti Bastian said, “I am learning about the development from you, as no one from the police station informed me that the IO has been changed. Everything was given to the police on a platter by mid-day, yet the previous IO did nothing to arrest him. All I hope is that the killer of my husband is arrested soon.”
“It has been a month, but the accused is still roaming free. We are thankful to mid-day for highlighting our plights as the case file was gathering dust for the last month,” Jyoti said.
Bastian’s cousin Clement Dass said, “The accused is very active on social media. He has been frequently changing his profile pictures on Instagram which he has now made ‘private’.”
Day when the accident took place and the BMW car was brought to the garage