THE CENTRAL Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the Sheena Bora murder case, will soon summon friends and acquaintances of prime accused Peter and Indrani Mukerjea in connection with the case. Sources said one of the top former advertising professional in India and theatre personality Alyque Padamsee, and former encounter cop Suhel Buddha would be called for questioning first.
The sources claimed that Indrani and Peter had met through Padamsee, while Buddha had employed co-accused Shyam Rai after the latter lost his job as Indrani’s driver in July 2012.
“During the interrogation, Peter told us that it was Padamsee who had introduced Indrani to him and even helped her in completing her divorce formalities with her second husband Sanjeev Kapoor, when Peter and Indrani decided to get married in 2002. His statement will help us sketch the sequence of events and he would be an important witness. We will soon record his statement,” said an official.
In October 2001, the sources claimed, Padamsee and another friend of Peter and Indrani, Vikas Verma, introduced Indrani to Peter. They had told Peter that Indrani owned a recruitment company in Kolkata and was looking to start work in Mumbai. During the said first meeting, the sources claimed, Peter said he liked Indrani and was “happy to meet her”. During the course of the probe, the agency will also record Verma’s statement.
“Buddha’s statement would be important because he had employed Rai after Indrani sacked him in 2012. Also, Buddha’s brother Sameer handles Peter’s finances. Therefore, his statement would also be crucial for the investigation,” said a source, adding, “Buddha also introduced Indrani to psychiatric Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla for Mekhail’s (her son) drug-induced psychosis. We want to quiz him over all these details.”
Meanwhile, the agency also suspects that Peter and Indrani might have made a fake passport of Sheena on which she had travelled to Singapore to complete the formalities of opening an account. This account, the sources said, could have been used by the couple to park the money they had allegedly siphoned off during the INX News Media Pvt Ltd sell-off.
“We have sought these details from the Interpol and are waiting for their response,” said the source.
In the past, while seeking Peter’s remand, the agency has claimed that the couple had siphoned off Rs 900 crore while parting with their stakes in INX News Pvt Ltd, which was formed with Indrani having the maximum shares.
The agency made these allegations based on the documents received from the income tax department and the Serious Fraud and Investigation Office (SFIO), an agency that works under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
On November 19, the agency had arrested Peter in connection with the case. The murder case was ‘chanced upon’ by the Mumbai Police when they arrested Rai in August this year.
During interrogation, Rai revealed that he had killed Sheena along with Indrani and Sanjeev Khanna in April 2012.
In September, the state government transferred the case to the CBI citing complex financial dealings that needed to be probed by a “competent” agency.
All four accused are currently in judicial custody.
Last week, the agency sought permission from the local court to question the accused in judicial custody.
The sources claimed Indrani was still defiant and “blaming” others for hatching the murder and dragging her into it.
“During one questioning, she blamed Mekhail saying he might have hatched the plan to kill his sister, along with Rai and Sanjeev Khanna, to get their ancestral property. She claims that could be the reason why Mekhail visited Mumbai on April 24, 2012,” said the source.
The agency had not treated Mekhail as a witness in the first chargesheet filed against Indrani, Rai and Khanna last month. The sources, however, claimed that they did not suspect Mekhail had any role to play.