How did Mumbai police mess it up?

Peter Mukerjea, husband of prime accused Indrani Mukerjea in the Sheena Bora case, was yesterday charged with murder. A local court has sent him to CBI custody till Monday. The case took a sensational twist after the CBI told the court that Peter was involved in conspiracy with Indrani. The CBI said Peter was in constant touch with Indrani before, during and after the murder.

After this, one has to wonder what the Mumbai police, which was the original investigating agency had gleaned after so many days of questioning Peter. The CBI is citing very basic things like call details, voice recordings, text messages, etc, which the Mumbai police, too, must have obtained, very early on in its probe.

If the CBI says it has enough to prosecute Peter, why did the Mumbai police – which clearly had the same information, if not more – not find it enough grounds to arrest Peter?

It is also said the CBI became suspicious of Peter after he started giving inconsistent answers and was being evasive during his interrogation. This also raises the questions: Did the two agencies take different lines of questioning? If so, what is it that the CBI knows the Mumbai police doesn’t know? Or did the two agencies have the same information? If that was the case, did the Mumbai police not get suspicious while questioning Peter?

And, how is that two agencies search the same premises – that of Sanjeev Khanna’s – and one comes off with laptops while the other comes off a month later with ammunition?

With answers to these questions, maybe the big question about why the State transferred the investigation from the police to the CBI is about to be answered. Simultaneously, the focus is also now on the police and its investigation. All those doubts about someone powerful being close to Peter or the police going slow in the investigation seem more credible now. Goof-ups of DNA samples collected have been reported in the past but now seem to have more relevance in the light of recent developments.

Now, the sudden and heavily criticised transfer of the case seems sensible, if not justified. It may just be eat your words time for the state’s critics.

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