The CBI’s custody of Peter Mukerjea was extended till November 30, after officials argued that Sheena Bora’s murder was at the centre of a larger conspiracy involving crores of rupees allegedly embezzled by Peter and his wife, Indrani. The CBI suspects that the money might have been siphoned off to bank accounts under Sheena’s name in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Peter Mukerjea being escorted to the Esplanade court by the CBI on Thursday. After the proceedings, he was taken back to New Delhi. Pic/PTI
Arguing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the CBI Magistrate R V Adone, “We suspect Peter and Indrani have opened various bank accounts in HSBC Bank in Singapore in the name of Sheena Bora. We have written to Interpol to get details of this. A lot of companies were formed and promoted by Peter and Indrani in 2006 and 2007. Around R900 crore was invested in those companies and we suspect the money was siphoned off.”
Singh also told the court that Indrani might have had help opening the foreign accounts from her close friend, one Gayatri Ahuja, who heads the NRI segment of the DBS Bank in Singapore. He added that the Income Tax department’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office had carried out audits in the companies promoted by Peter and Indrani and had found indications of misallocation of funds. This was also confirmed by the companies’ chartered accountant.
The CBI told the court they had carried out a forensic psychological test on Peter and were waiting for the report. The investigative agency also wants to conduct a lie detection test on Peter. Singh told the court, “The nature of crime was heinous and we saw a larger conspiracy in it, so the court should grant seven days of police custody.”
However, when mid-day spoke to Peter’s son, Rahul after the proceedings, he rubbished the allegations.
Meanwhile, in court, defence lawyer Mihir Gheewala argued, “Till yesterday the CBI was saying jealousy was the motive for killing Sheena. Now it is saying that there might be foreign accounts in the name of Sheena Bora created by Indrani and Peter. They are just linking the foreign bank accounts to get extension of custody, as they have not found anything else.”
Fellow defence lawyer Kushal Mor questioned how the CBI had even arrested Peter when they did not mention him as wanted in the chargesheet produced against the prime accused — Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyam Rai. The lawyer also argued that Peter himself was a victim. “Peter had told me, ‘I myself am a victim of my wife’s devious methods.’ He trusted his wife completely,” said Mor in court.
After the proceedings, the CBI took Peter Mukerjea back to Delhi for further investigation.