Maria removed from Sheena case, reinstated

File photo of Rakesh Maria who was promoted as the Director General of Home Guards by the Maharashtra.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Faced with criticism that Rakesh Maria was removed as City Police Commissioner on Tuesday to keep him off the investigation into the >Sheena Bora murder case under pressure from corporates and a powerful lobby in Delhi, the Maharashtra government did a “U-turn” late in the evening by allowing him to be in >charge of the probe.

Mr. Maria, promoted as Director-General, Home Guards, will continue to lead the investigation, the State Home Ministry said.

“Yes, he will continue on the Sheena Bora murder case. He will work on it till the charge sheet is filed. He will work on this case despite his new position,” K.P. Bakshi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, told The Hindu.

In the afternoon, Mr. Bakshi said the investigation was “almost” complete and the police were preparing to frame the charge sheet, which would be filed soon. “This is a routine transfer and promotion that has absolutely no linkage to the Sheena Bora murder case,” Mr. Bakshi had said hours before reversing the decision.

The political circles were abuzz with strong criticism of the government action, and the Opposition alleged that the investigation of Peter Mukherjea, former Star India head, had possibly unearthed a money-laundering racket linked to big corporates and leaders in Delhi.

Mr. Mukherjea is the husband of Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the murder case who founded INX Media with her.

Opposition sees corporate hand in Maria’s transfer

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis signed the order to transfer Rakesh Maria as City Police Commissioner late on Monday night before leaving on four-day tour to Japan.

The Opposition parties in Maharashtra lambasted the State government on Tuesday when it initially >divested Rakesh Maria of the charge of heading the investigation into the Sheena Bora murder case after transferring him as City Police Commissioner and promoting him.

‘“Mr. Maria was probing money laundering worth Rs. 500-600 crore or more. There are corporate powers and influential people from Delhi who do not want this to be unearthed. This is the reason for his transfer,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.

Congress’s Mumbai unit chief and former MP Sanjay Nirupam too hinted at a corporate hand behind Mr. Maria’s abrupt transfer. “What was the need to do it in hurry? He will have to answer when he comes back,” Mr. Malik said.

Mr. Maria was to complete his tenure on September 30 and his transfer was due. “We took this decision now, only to allow the new CP to familiarise with the force before the Ganesh festival begins in Mumbai. It has nothing to do with the Sheena Bora case,” K.P. Bakshi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, had said in the afternoon.

Ahmed Javed quelled rumours about any change in the team investigating the murder case soon after assuming charge as the new Commissioner.

He was responding to questions on his own role in conducting the investigation and whether he would involve himself in the case just like Mr. Maria did. Mr. Javed, a 1980-batch IPS officer who was the Director-General, Home Guards, before taking over his new assignment, has swapped posts with Mr. Maria, one batch his junior.

“There is no truth in reports of changing the officers. The probe will be conducted in a professional manner. Investigation in any case is a collective team work. At this stage, the accused are already in judicial custody and interrogation is over,” he said, sidestepping the fact that questioning linked to the money trail in the case had just begun.

Highlighting women and child safety as his top priorities, Mr. Ahmed said that his immediate focus was the festival season ahead and the security arrangements needed for the same. Making public his stance on moral policing, something for which the Mumbai Police received a lot of flak for recently, he said no probe in future would be conducted in an unprofessional manner.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:19:38 AM |

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