IN THE Sheena Bora murder case, the CBI has opposed the bail plea of accused Peter Mukerjea, by claiming that since he is a United Kingdom national, there is apprehension that he may flee if released on bail. Last month, Mukerjea had sought bail for the fourth time, denying that he had committed the offence.
“That the application (for bail) is strongly opposed and is liable to be rejected in view of the fact that the CBI has apprehension that in case the accused is released on bail, he would run away and abscond, which would cause serious impediment to the ongoing trial of this instant case since he is a UK national,” a reply filed through Special Public Prosecutor Bharat Badami states.
The reply filed on Friday also says that the allegations against Mukerjea are serious, of him being involved in a “heinous crime of abduction and murder”.
Opposing Mukerjea’s plea, the CBI has claimed that from the deposition of witnesses so far, “sufficient evidence has come on record”. The CBI has also claimed that since he is an “influential person”, he may tamper with the evidence and influence material witnesses, including his own family members, like his son, Rahul, adopted daughter, Vidhie and brother, Gautam.
So far, 22 witnesses have deposed in the case, including the former driver of the Mukerjeas, Shyamvar Rai, who has now turned an approver in the case.
The CBI claims that though he was not in the city on April 24, 2012, when Mukerjea’s wife, Indrani, along with her former husband, Sanjeev Khanna and Rai, allegedly abducted Sheena and killed her, he was part of the conspiracy. Peter, in his bail plea, has said that he was misled into believing that Sheena was Indrani’s sister and that she had left for the US on her own will.
The CBI claims that both Indrani and Peter were upset with Sheena’s relationship with Rahul, Peter’s son from his previous marriage. Peter, however, has maintained by submitting various communication between them that he did not oppose the relationship.
In his bail plea, Peter has also said that considering the time required for each witness, the present trial may not conclude in the near future, resulting in a “pre-trial punishment” violating his rights to personal liberty.
Peter was arrested by the CBI in November 2015 and has been in jail since then. He has also cited ill health stating that considering his age, he may not survive till the conclusion of the trial. The court is likely to hear arguments on the plea next week.