Expanding the scope of investigation in the Sheena Bora murder case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday quizzed three Mumbai Police officials, including former city police commissioner Rakesh Maria.
Maria, who is currently DG Home Guards, was the then police commissioner heading the murder case. Apart from Maria, Joint Commissioner of Police Deven Bharti, and DCP Satyanarayan Chowdhury were also examined by the investigative agency.
The 24-year-old Sheena was strangled in a car in Mumbai in April 2012 allegedly by Indrani, Khanna and Indrani’s former driver Shyamvar Rai. Sheena’s body was then dumped in a forest in neighbouring Raigad district.
The case came to light only last year when Rai was arrested in another case. Rai later turned approver in the murder case.
Maria had reportedly shown personal interest in the case and had himself interrogated the accused including Indrani Mukerjea and Sanjeev Khanna, which is unusual.
Maria was, however, removed from his post as the city police commissioner and promoted as Director General of Home Guards with immediate effect.
It should also be noted that Maria was scheduled to be transferred or promoted on 30 September 2015. His promotion came 22 days ahead of schedule, indicating that it perhaps had something to do with the case.
While several television reports suggested that Maria’s removal was directly related to his involvement in the probe in the high-profile murder case, the Maharashtra Home Department held the changes were made taking into account the law and order factor ahead of last year’s Ganpati festival.
“There was no hurry in transferring Maria. It would have been inappropriate to transfer him on 30 September, in the middle of the festive season as Ganapati festival, a very important event in Maharashtra would be on at that time. Therefore, we decided to advance the promotion of Maria,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) KP Bakshi said.
According to the CBI charge sheet, Indrani and Peter were against the “intimate relationship” between Sheena and Rahul, Peter’s son from his first wife. He often used to quarrel with Rahul on the issue as he didn’t approve of the relationship between Sheena and his son.
As per the charge sheet, Peter always dissuaded Khanna’s daughter from Indrani, Vidhie from having any contact with Rahul and Sheena.
Peter was initially fine with the relationship between Sheena and Rahul believing it would wane eventually over financial pressures.
In its charge sheet filed on 19 November 2015, CBI had named Indrani, Khanna and Rai as accused in the case.
Peter was arrested on 19 November 2015 for his alleged role in the murder plot. A charge sheet was filed against him by CBI on 16 February 2016.
With inputs from agencies