On Monday, a day before retirement from the police force, IPS officer Rakesh Maria made the startling disclosure that "influential and wealthy people" suppressed the Sheena Bora murder — in which her mother Indrani Mukerjea and former media baron Peter Mukerjea are among those arrested — for three years.
Soon after the revelation, Peter Mukherjee's son Rahul Mukerjea, on Tuesday, took to Twitter and asked if there was anything more to the case which he didn't know about. In the tweet, Mukerjea questioned, "So who exactly influenced the probe in 2012?? Is Maria (then Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria) referring to Indr (Indrani Mukerjea) having spoken to Bharti (then joint police commissioner Deven Bharti)? Or is there more to this? Why the secrecy?
So who exactly influenced the probe in 2012?? Is Maria referring to Indr having spoken to Bharti? Or is there more to this? Why the secrecy? — rahulmukerjea (@rahulmukerjea) January 31, 2017
When the crime had happened, Deven Bharti (referred above as Bharti) was the Additional Commissioner of Crime Branch of Mumbai. Currently, Bharti is Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order). Bharti and Maria had both supervised the Sheena Bora murder case on separate occasions. According to Firstpost Bureau Chief Sanjay Sawant, Bharti and Maria rarely saw eye-to-eye on the manner in which the investigation should happen in the Sheena Bora murder case.
However, as Rahul's tweet suggests that maybe Maria was indicating towards his colleague's involvement in the misgivings. Already sensational enough for the national media to dedicate complete airtime to the murder case when it was first unearthed, what raised eyebrows further is the interest that the then Mumbai police commissioner evinced in the case. This approach of the city's police chief was soon questioned and consequently, he was unceremoniously shunted out as the Director General, Home Guards albeit on promotion.
Bharti's name has been mentioned for the first time in connection with the case, setting off another question if one more high ranking police official will get sucked into the vortex of this spine-chilling murder incident.
This is not the first time Mukerjee has tried to shed light on the investigation. He had earlier defended his father in a letter on Twitter, marked to the prime minister's office and President Pranab Mukjerjee, asking for a fair probe.
In October 2016, Maria and Bharti were also quizzed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who wanted to increase the scope of their investigation in the murder case.
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 in 2015 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.
With inputs from agencies
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
Updated Date: Jan 31, 2017 18:12:37 IST