Almost a year after arresting Manisha Mhase,an Aurangabad-based lawyer and daughter of a former High Court judge,for allegedly demanding bribe,CBI has not only given her a clean chit but also arrested Hemlata Mane,whose voice seems to have matched the sample on which the case was built.
Manisha,daughter of Justice S B Mhase,who is president of Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission,was arrested for having allegedly demanded Rs 30 lakh from a complainant from Pune over phone last October to get a favourable order in a matter pending before National Consumer Dispute Redressel Commission.
But a chargesheet filed before the special CBI court names Mane,not Mhase,on the basis of a forensic report. Mane is allegedly a close associate of prime accused and lawyer Sunil Shirole. She was arrested and granted bail on Wednesday.
A source said the agency moved an application under CrPC Section 169 seeking discharge of Mhase from the case.
CBI has chargesheeted Mane,Shirole,Somnath Sutar and Hansraj Singh under various IPC sections for impersonation,cheating and also under Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI source said both CFSL,Delhi,and a Chandigarh lab had confirmed a sample collected during the alleged bribe call did not match the voice of Mhase.
The agency,however,refused to admit the blunder. It was source-based information. A trap was laid and arrests made. Only on receiving forensic reports did we realise that Mhase had no role in the bribery. In fact,it was Mane who spoke to the complainant and demanded Rs 30 lakh, said a senior CBI office.
Lawyer Ashok Mundergi representing Mhase said it was a hasty decision to register a case and arrest her. It was unfair on the part of CBI to have jumped to conclusion. It could have gathered evidence and arrested Mhase once it was sure, he said.
Meanwhile,CBI said Shirole had duped many in Pune. He was a practising lawyer specialising in land dispute cases. Several cases are pending against him in Pune and Mumbai, said the officer.
The agency said Sutar and Singh were approached by Shirole to settle some matters pending in a Pune court. They were victims,but later decided to join Shirole. The two collected bribe from the complainant, said a source.