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Why all odds are stacked against Peter and Indrani in Sheena Bora murder case

Raza Naqvi | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 9:33 IST

In yet another twist in the Sheena Bora murder case, former media magnate Peter Mukerjea was arrested on the night of 19 November after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted its 1000-page chargesheet.

Prima facie, Peter's arrest may have been prompted by new evidence that the CBI might have gleaned from the confession of Shyamvar Rai - Indrani Mukerjea's former driver and an accused in the case.

Rai had earlier given his statement before a magistrate in Mumbai.

Some questions still unanswered

Though the CBI has arrested Peter and will likely produce him before a court on 20 November, a few pertinent questions have reared their head:

Will Peter be implicated for conspiracy in the murder?

Or will he be charged as a co-conspirator?

Will the police implicate him for destruction of evidence?

Or will the former Star India executive be charged for giving false information and contradictory statements?

Will the CBI make Rai an approver?

According to media reports, Driver Rai had recorded his confession on-camera before a magistrate. His statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC.

Unlike a police statement, this is admissible in court - this indicates that the CBI will likely make him an approver in the case.

Motive unclear

The motive behind Sheena's murder is still unclear, but it appears that now that the CBI will probe the financial dealings of both Peter and Indrani.

Before the case was handed over to the CBI, the Mumbai Police investigating team - led by Rakesh Maria - had begun probing the financial angle in the case.

Maria had stated that the investigating team was probing the accounts of the Mukerjeas and had set up a forensic audit team for the purpose. The team was probing the registration of companies, investments, bank statements and also various transactions of the sale of INX Media in various accounts of the Mukerjeas.

What roused suspicion?

The team was also focusing on uncovering the assets that might lie with Indrani Incon Pvt Ltd, Indrani Mukerjea News Pvt Ltd, Yamuna Recruitment Services and Saraswathi Media Pvt Ltd. All these companies were floated in 2007.

The investigating team turned suspicious after it had observed the manner in which two Kolkata-based businessmen were appointed directors of these loss-making companies. Both Peter and Indrani exited the board of directors the same day these businessmen signed on.

Was insecurity a factor?

According to media reports, Peter's finances are quite significant in the case and it could be a motive behind the murder. Indrani might have become jealous of Sheena and she feared that she may lose her grip on those assets if Rahul Mukerjea married Sheena.

No easy way out for Peter

Even if Peter is only charged with destruction of evidence under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information), the section attracts a jail term up to seven years. Legal experts say he is unlikely to be granted bail easily.

The police will now file an additional chargesheet to add Peter's name as the co-accused.

First published: 20 November 2015, 11:01 IST
Raza Naqvi @Mir_Naqvi

Raza is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and has worked with the Hindustan Times in the past. A passionate follower of crime stories, he is currently working as a Sub-Editor at the Speed News desk.