CBI to fish out ‘financial trails’ in Sheena murder case

CBI to fish out ‘financial trails’ in Sheena murder case

By VINAYA DESHPANDE | MUMBAI | 19 September, 2015

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which has been handed over the Sheena Bora murder case, will have to ascertain who is to blame for the "goof-up" by Raigad police in 2012 and whether there were any financial links and trails in the murder mystery. The Maharashtra government maintains that the decision to transfer the probe to CBI was needed as there was a suspicion that financial trails may be involved in the entire episode surrounding the Mukerjea family. However, speculation is rife that the decision to rope in the Central agency had more to do with the fact that the Mukerjeas share a rapport with top cops in the state. Current Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed had said that he knew the Mukerjeas socially. Maharashtra Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal, however, refused to comment on the developments.

"The Additional Chief Secretary has given a detailed media briefing. I don't think I have anything to add to it," he told The Sunday Guardian. When asked about alleged callousness in the probe by the Raigad police in 2012, he said he would "submit the inquiry report along with the recommendations to the government". When asked if an SP-level probe was sufficient to find out if an SP-level or an IG-level officer was behind the loopholes done by Raigad police, Dayal said "there is no IG-level officer involved." Ahmad Javed too refused to comment on media reports that he himself approved the transfer of the Sheena Bora murder probe to a Central agency. "Now the matter is all over. The ACS has issued an order on it. There is nothing further," he told this newspaper. During the press briefing at the State Secretariat, Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K.P. Bakshi said the government wanted a fair probe of the matter.

"The government seems to have taken this decision to preclude any further controversy," said Y. P. Singh, former IPS officer.

Meanwhile, the mastermind, who might have prevailed over the Raigad Police in 2012 to ensure that no case was registered, is still not known. The errors on the part of the Raigad Police are unprecedented. "The interference of an SP-level officer is likely. The doctors in Raigad did not do the inquest. The post-mortem was done at the spot by the health department officials. They did not follow the requisite procedure to collect sufficient viscera, thereby hampering the probe. The collected samples did not have any outgoing number, accidental death report number or FIR number. An SP-level inquiry into the matter is clearly inadequate. The DG should have appointed a senior officer," Singh said.

He added that the case has already suffered many procedural flaws. "The first flaw is that there was a delay in registering an FIR. The police first registered an intermediate case under Arms Act. They did the investigation and then registered the murder case, whereas a case should have been registered immediately," he said. After the Khar police station started probing the murder case, then Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria started conducting the interrogation. This was seen as overzealousness. The state government, however, prematurely transferred Maria. "Ideally, the Police Establishment Board should independently assess the desirability of the transfer, and the requisite criteria. But this was clearly overlooked. The reasons for transfer were clearly untenable," Singh claimed.

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