Mumbai: A special court on Friday directed the CBI to begin arguments on framing of charges in the Sheena Bora murder case and make their opening statement from the next date of hearing scheduled in September.
The court also extended the judicial custody of key accused Indrani Mukerjea, her husband Peter and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna till 13 September, when the agency is also likely to open their case.
"Prosecutor can argue on framing of charges provided the interest of defence is safeguarded. I will expedite the trial," special CBI judge HS Mahajan said.
Earlier, special public prosecutors Bharat Badami and Kavita Patil told the court that the prosecution is ready to open the case in support of framing of charges.
"We are ready to start the trial," they said.
Since Thursday the prosecutors said media was trying to "snatch words from two CBI witnesses in the case" but did not elaborate or name them.
In this context, they also felt that there should not be a "parallel trial" in the case and that their witnesses need to
To this, judge Mahajan said nobody is taking these (media reports) seriously.
The court also made it clear that none of the parts of the purported tapes on the murder case were leaked from the court. CBI also told the court that there was no leak from their side too.
Though key accused Indrani's advocate said that they have no objection in starting the trial, the lawyer of former media
baron Peter told the court that CBI has to make a statement that their investigation is over and then let them (agency)
start arguing on framing of charges.
Peter's lawyer Mihir Gheewala told the court that the tapes are a vital evidence (in the case) and the manner in which it was aired on a (news) channel, the witnesses could be directly affected.
"It should not cause any prejudice to the witnesses," Gheewala told the court.
Later Gheewala also moved an application in the court that it should direct the CBI to take all necessary steps to prevent the potential evidence, documents, witnesses statements and material produced by CBI in its charge sheet from being used in the media without permission of the court.
The CBI is likely to file its reply in due course of time.
Referring to reports of purported conversation among Indrani, Peter and Rahul suggesting that there has been attempts by Peter to cover up and mislead Rahul about the mysterious disappearance of Sheena, the court said if the CBI feels that anybody is doing intentionally then it can go ahead and take action against them (media).
Indrani, her former driver Shyam Rai (who has now turned approver in the case) and Khanna had allegedly strangled Sheena, Indrani's daughter from an earlier relationship, inside a car in April 2012.
The trio were arrested in August last year, while Peter was arrested in November. According to CBI, Peter was part of the murder conspiracy.
Sheena's body was found in a forest in Raigad. The crime, which came to light in August last year, is allegedly linked to certain financial dealings.