In another twist to the Sheena Bora murder case, the Maharashtra government on Friday decided to transfer the investigation to the CBI, claiming it as an attempt to clear all doubts over the probe and the officers involved.
“We had asked for a status report on this investigation from the Director General of Police. It has become clear that the case is not limited to the murder of an individual but has the background of financial deals. To ensure a fair and impartial probe, which will dig out all the links, we have decided to hand it over to the CBI,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K.P. Bakshi. He said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had strongly recommended the CBI investigation.
Sheena Bora, daughter of Indrani Mukerjea, was allegedly murdered three years ago. Ms. Mukerjea, her second husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyam Rai are under arrest in connection with the murder. Indrani’s third husband and former CEO of Star India, Peter Mukerjea, was interrogated by former Mumbai commissioner Rakesh Maria, following which Mr. Maria was transferred.
Following Mr. Maria’s departure and transfer as Director General (Home Guard) and appointment of Ahmad Javed in his place, the government faced criticism over the action.
Mr. Mukerjea had also formed the INX Media with his wife Indrani. The Opposition claimed that Mr. Maria’s investigation of Mr. Peter Mukerjea had possibly unearthed a money-laundering racket linked to big corporates and leaders in Delhi. This allegation had forced the government to announce that Mr. Maria would continue the probe.
“Taking into account the perception created by the media, we wanted to clear all confusion in people’s minds. We did not want to involve local officers and decided to have an independent inquiry. The CBI can investigate the murder as well as economic offences related to this case,” said Mr. Bakshi.
He added that the proposal had been sent to the Union Government after a discussion with the Centre’s officers and bureaucrats. “They will soon inform us whether they want to accept the probe or not,” he said.
Asked about the status report on the case filed by DGP Sanjeev Dayal, Mr. Bakshi said the investigation so far had unearthed the motive behind the murder. “It is not only personal but does have the background of financial dealings,” he said. As per the report, interrogation of all the accused is complete and no more arrests are required in the near future.
“The investigation till now will be used by the CBI to file the charge sheet in this case and I assure you that it won’t go in vain,” said Mr. Bakshi.
Ironically, despite assuring that Mr. Maria will continue the investigation in the case, the State government had not issued the orders for the same. “It was unlikely that he would take up the investigation after the insult of being removed unceremoniously. This also forced the government’s decision to hand over the probe to the CBI,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity.