Written by Omkar Gokhale
THE BOMBAY High Court on Thursday granted bail to former media baron Peter Mukerjea, who has been lodged in Arthur Road Jail for over four years in connection with the murder of his former wife Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora. The court said there is no prima facie evidence to show that he was involved in the alleged crime that took place in April 2012.
However, following a request from the CBI, which is investigating the case, Justice Nitin W Sambre stayed the operation of the order for six weeks to allow the agency to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
The court granted bail to Peter on a surety of Rs 2 lakh and directed him to surrender his passport to the police and barred him from leaving the country. He was also asked not to contact his children Rahul Mukerjea and Vidhi Mukerjea and other witnesses in the case till further orders. Further, he was barred from asking for further adjournments in the ongoing trial before the special court.
Advocate Shrikant Shivade, appearing for Mukherjea, had told the court that his client had no role in the crime, in which Indrani and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna are co-accused.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and advocate Sandesh Patil, representing CBI, opposed the bail plea arguing that call data records of Peter and Indrani suggested that he was involved in the crime.
Justice Sambre, however, noted that the call data records produced before the court do not prove this adequately and instead, indicate that prime accused Indrani was instructing her driver Shyamvar Rai in connection to the alleged crime.
Maintaining that Peter was not in India when the incident took place, the court noted he had been in jail for more than four years and had recently undergone a bypass surgery. “Except for the statement of the approver in the case, Shyamvar Rai, there is no reference to Peter Mukerjea in any evidence. There is no other evidence to show his involvement,” it added.
The prosecution has alleged that Sheena was murdered in 2012 by Indrani and Khanna in a conspiracy that also involved Peter, her then husband. While Indrani and Khanna were arrested in April 2015, Peter was arrested in November that year.
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