Sheena Bora murder case: Bombay HC reserves order on Peter's plea for case diary
Mumbai, Nov 22: The Bombay High Court reserved its order on a plea filed by former media baron Peter Mukerjea, one of the accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, seeking the case diary from police. Details of probe are recorded daily by police in case diary.
The matter is under investigation by officials of the Khar police station. He has also sought access to the personal diary maintained by sub-inspector Ganesh Dalvi, a prosecution witness who was also part of the team that arrested prime accused Indrani Mukerjea's driver, Shyamvar Rai, who later turned an approver. Shrikant Shivde, Mukerjea's lawyer, argued that his client has the right to defend himself by pointing out any contradictory statements that might have been made by Rai after his arrest.
He also said the case diary which Mukerjea has sought to see relates to an earlier case registered under the Arms Act against Rai before the Sheena Bora murder case. It was after his arrest in that case that Rai spilled the beans about the murder of Sheena, the daughter of Indrani from an earlier relationship. "Our viewing its contents will not harm the ongoing trial (in the Sheena Bora murder case)," he said.
The CBI, however, opposed the petition, saying that there is no legal provision which allows an accused access to case diary, unless the person already knows of a wrong statement made by a witness or informer, and wants to corroborate the same.
"In the present case, however, the accused (Peter Mukerjea) has no idea whether or not there is any contradiction in Rai's statement....how can he make such request based simply on a roving suspicion?" said Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the CBI. The case diary contains some crucial details of the probe and making them public could risk both the investigation and the well-being of witnesses and informers, Singh added.
Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, who heard Mukerjea's plea, also asked how could he demand access to the case diary on mere suspicion that there could be some contradictory material in it. "The court can't give you the case diary to check whether a contradictory statement has been made and then confront the approver. The issue is not whether your viewing the diary will harm anyone....what this court has to see is whether you are entitled to make such a demand," the judge said, and reserved the order.
Earlier this year, the trial court had rejected Mukerjea's plea seeking access to the case diary. Mukerjea, the husband of Indrani, then moved the high court. Rai was arrested in 2015 for illegal possession of fire arms. During the interrogation, he told police about the Sheena Bora murder, which took place in April 2012. He also led police to the spot in Raigad district where her body had been dumped. Subsequently, police arrested Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and later Peter Mukerjea, her current husband.