Detective pulled off Pistorius case

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hilton botha star AP Investigating officer Hilton Botha sits in the court witness box during the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing on Wednesday.

 Pretoria -Police Warrant Officer Hilton Botha has been removed as lead investigator in a murder case against paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Thursday the Pistorius investigation would now be handled by a team led by Divisional Commissioner of Detective services, Lt-Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo.

"The SA Police Service is positioning itself for the long term investigation into the matter," she told reporters in Pretoria.

"Given the importance and the severity of the matter under investigation, I have decided to assign this important investigation under the leadership of Lt-Gen Moonoo."

Police confirmed earlier in the day that seven attempted murder charges were hanging over Botha's head.

Phiyega said her office was aware of the events involving Botha that happened in 2011.

The charges against Botha were earlier provisionally withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

"Upon finalisation of the initial investigation, the matter was referred to the NPA for a decision, which was received yesterday  1/8Wednesday 3/8 and that necessitated this announcement," she said.

Police said earlier in the day Botha allegedly fired shots at a minibus while trying to stop the vehicle. There were seven people inside at the time.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who died in a shooting in his Pretoria home last week.

He has denied deliberately shooting her, and said he thought there was a burglar when he fired shots at the bathroom door, which  killed her.

Botha, who was the investigating officer in the case, testified against Pistorius in his application for bail in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court this week. - Sapa

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