Sheena murder: Peter Mukerjea’s CBI custody extended

Mumbai, Nov 26 (IANS) A special court here on Thursday extended till November 30 the CBI custody of former media baron Peter Mukerjea, one of the four prime accused in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, as investigators zeroed in on financial matters as the motive behind the killing.

Peter was presented before a CBI court on Thursday afternoon after he was brought here from New Delhi where he was taken for investigation by the agency three days ago.

The prosecution requested for additional custody of Peter as they wanted to probe the money angle and also carry out a polygraph (lie detector) test on him.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said the CBI has written to Interpol seeking its help for getting access to foreign bank accounts of the Mukerjea family members.

He informed the court that money was siphoned off from the INX company, in which the Mukerjea couple (Peter and Indrani) were partners, and routed to Sheena’s HSBC account in Singapore.

In this connection, a woman named Gayatri Ahuja, working in DBS Bank in Singapore, had helped Indrani open the account at the HSBC Bank there.

Peter has also informed the CBI sleuths that other accounts may have been opened in Sheena’s name by Indrani in HSBC and other banks in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The CBI contends that the Mukerjeas’ company, 9X Media Pvt. Ltd., had conducted an internal audit of its nine companies in March 2009 and found substantial amounts of money siphoned off and misappropriated by the duo (Peter-Indrani), which was substantiated by reports of the Income Tax department, Serious Fraud investigation Office and the chartered accountants.

In a related development, Peter’s brother, Goa-based publisher Gautam Mukerjea, requested “the right of privacy for the family which has been shocked by Peter’s arrest and going through trying times”.

“We trust that the media recognises that this matter concerns the privacy, reputation and image of a self-made and respected individual and his family that has already suffered trauma in this case,” Gautam said in a media statement on Thursday.

“The whole family is confident of Peter’s innocence and we are in no doubt that due process will ultimately reveal this.

“It would be best at this time that the agencies are allowed to conduct their work in an unhampered manner, without irresponsible conclusions being arrived at in the interim period by any party,” Gautam added.

Urging the media to respect their privacy while reporting on the matter, Gautam said: “We also feel that unbridled speculation in the media about Peter’s culpability apart from being hurtful is counter-productive to a smooth and fair investigation and trial.”

Peter, 59, was arrested on November 19 from his home in Mumbai’s Worli area and has been in CBI custody since then.

Among other things, the CBI contends that Peter was aware of the killing of Sheena, the daughter of his wife Indrani Mukerjea.

In August, Mumbai police had arrested Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamwar Rai in connection with the murder.

The trio of Indrani, Khanna and Rai is in CBI custody till December 3.

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