CBI Special Prosecutor Bharat B Badami presents the first part of his arguments countering Peter Mukerjea’s November 2018 bail plea.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
At Courtroom 51 at the Mumbai city and sessions court, south Mumbai, Friday March 8, 2019, CBI Special Prosecutor Bharat B Badami presented, over an hour, the first part of his arguments countering Peter Mukerjea’s November 2018 bail plea, his third as Accused No 4 in the Sheena Bora murder trial.
Declaring that the prosecution had plenty of evidence against Peter and that their charges were not faulty, some of the more salient points Badami made Friday were:
- Peter was an “influential person” and if let out on bail, he could either influence the witnesses or abscond. Badami also questioned the idea of looking for bail when the trial was on its 37th witness.
- Being Sheena’s stepfather, and knowing that Sheena was the fiancée of Rahul Mukerjea, his son from his first marriage, Peter took no steps to ensure that he knew she was safe.
- Why was it that Sheena’s father Siddharth Das gave his blessings when Rahul and Sheena got engaged, but Accused No 4 did not.
- Badami brought up the calls between Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea on the night of the murder, April 24, 2012, that lasted 15 to 16 minutes and were made at “odd hours.”
- Constant communication between Peter and Indrani was “a very important fact of the case”. He had knowledge about what was going, declared Badami. “Peter was knowing everything. He was not a statue of the family. He used to take care of the welfare of family.”
- Rahul has not yet appeared as a witness in court. If Accused No 4 is released on bail then there is a chance he can “win over Rahul Mukerjea.”
- Accused No 4 could not put the “entire blame” on Accused No 1. Accused No 1 had an equal role to play in murder. Accusing Peter of being uncharitable and hinting that he was not being fair to his wife, Badami said roundly, “You cannot throw (everything) on the head and shoulder of Indrani?”
- Badami wondered what steps had Peter Mukerjea taken to ensure Sheena’s well-being or turn those in who were responsible for her lack of well-being till August 2015 when former Mukerjea driver Shyamvar Rai was arrested and it was known that Sheena was dead?
- Badami stated that Peter could have compelled Indrani to give him Sheena’s phone, contact number or something to talk to her. If he was concerned for his son, “you cannot sit idle.”
- Comparing Peter to Muhammad Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba founder, Badami said Saeed was in Pakistan when the 26/11 attacks occurred, but he was part of the conspiracy. “So Peter cannot say he was in London.
Badami then said dramatically: “Peter is the silent killer of Sheena Bora.”
He will continue his argumentson Monday, March 11.
After submitting this part of his reply in court, Badami later mentioned how Peter was attempting to “bifurcate” the conspiracy which was not tenable.
He also added that after the Mukerjeas visited then additional police commissioner crime Deven Bharti to say Sheena was missing, why did they tell Bharti three days later she was no longer missing.
The prosecutor reiterated his point “conspiracy karte hai toh (to do a conspiracy) physical presence is not required.”
Peter was in court, along with his defence team, looking slightly worn out.
Privately, those on Peter’s team called Badami’s accusations a “farrago of lies” and wondered why the prosecution lawyer harked back to 26/11 when there were more recent incidents like Pulwama, Kashmir, in February 2019.
Additional Inputs: Press Trust of India