THE CENTRAL Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recorded statements of three senior IPS officers — Rakesh Maria, Deven Bharti and Satyanarayan Chaudhary — in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case. According to sources, the three officers’ statements were recorded in New Delhi in the past fortnight.
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The statements were recorded after CBI sleuths questioned Sohail Buddha, a former Mumbai Police officer who was also employed with the broadcast media group that Peter Mukerjea was associated with. When Mukerjea was CEO, Buddha took retirement as an assistant police inspector and joined the private firm to take charge of its security.
“Buddha was questioned recently by the CBI. His questioning has given us new leads and therefore the three officers were quizzed,” said a CBI official.
Maria was Commissioner of Police in Mumbai when the case was unearthed. Nearly a fortnight into the arrest of Indrani Mukerjea, Maria was transferred and promoted as Director General of Police (State Home Guards and Civil Defence).
Bharti is a CBI witness in the case, and his statement has been attached in the chargesheet. Chaudhary’s statement was recorded as he is Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone IX , under whose jurisdiction the case was registered. The statements of policemen posted in Khar were attached to previous chargesheets.
“All the three cops were summoned to Delhi to avoid media glare in Mumbai. They all were questioned on their roles while probing the case and all the three have given their versions,” revealed a source.
Sources add that both Maria and Bharti were specifically asked about their acquaintance with Peter and Indrani. “Bharti in his earlier statements has told us that Peter and Indrani approached him to locate Sheena in the last week of April 2012 and he asked his Anti-Extortion Cell officers to track down her mobile tower location. However, the couple never followed it up. His statement has been crucial in nailing Peter’s complicity in the case,” the official said.
Sources indicate that the two officers were questioned on the episode at Khar police station when Peter was reportedly slapped by a senior officer as he wasn’t cooperating in the probe. Peter later revealed that he had been in touch with another senior police officer in the Mumbai Police, and the latter happened to be present in the room when Peter was being grilled.
“Their questioning is necessary as they were the primary investigators,” added the official.
Another senior officer told The Indian Express that their probe in connection with the role of the Raigad cops, especially the then Superintendent of Police, R D Shinde, has not revealed criminality on his part. “While we have evidence to believe that Shinde made a call to inspector Suresh Mirge and it lasted for 80 seconds in which he ordered an Accidental Death Report to be lodged, we don’t suspect that there is any complicity on his part to shield the accused but we suspect it to be a case of burking,” the source added.