Former top cop of Mumbai police Rakesh Maria, now Maharashtra’s Director General (Home Guards), and two other senior officials of the force have been questioned by CBI in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case in which the agency is about to wrap up investigation.
CBI officials said on Thursday that the three officers were “examined” as they were part of the initial probe team which investigated the case and arrested Indrani Mukherjea. Besides Maria, who was then the Police Commissioner, the CBI also questioned Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner (Law and Order) and Satya Narayan Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-X).
The spotlight had fallen on Maria and his crack team after CBI arrested media baron Peter Mukherjea last year. There were allegations that Maria had not probed the property angle in the case and not quizzed Mukherjea.
Sheena (24) was allegedly strangled in a car in Mumbai on April 2012 by her mother Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai. Sheena’s body was then dumped in a forest in neighbouring Raigad district.
Maria, a 1981-batch IPS officer was removed as Mumbai police Commissioner and replaced by Ahmed Javed, a 1980-batch IPS officer. Maria was alleged to have taken “unusual interest” in the Sheena Bora case and frequently visited Khar police station for questioning the accused including Indrani Mukerjea, the wife of Peter.
As various theories floated about the reasons for Maria’s transfer, the Maharashtra Home Department had said the changes were made taking into account the law and order factor ahead of the Ganapati festival, dismissing suggestions that had anything to do with the ongoing investigation in the case.
However, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, now a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, had told TV channels that one of the reasons for shifting Maria could be that he was close to Peter Mukerjea. Former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro had said Maria was “people friendly” but added that investigating a murder case is not the job of a police Commissioner.