A special court yesterday extended the CBI custody of former media tycoon Peter Mukherjea till today against the investigating agency’s request for four days.
Peter Mukerjea was produced at the Esplanade court yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
While arguing for four days’ custody, CBI prosecutor Bharat Badami said the report of Peter’s polygraph test, which was conducted with his consent and a Delhi court’s permission on November 27 and 28 by Central Forensic Science Laboratory, is likely to be received today.
“The custody of Peter should be extended to ascertain if he made any deceptive reply during the polygraph test and also to find other relevant facts,” argued Badami. On the other hand, Peter’s lawyers Kushal Mor and Mihir Gheewala told the court that Peter was not part of the planning and execution of the crime and CBI has been trying to forcefully link him with the case.
“There are some important incriminating articles and documents pertaining to this case that are yet to be recovered and the relevant records collected from various authorities, which are voluminous in nature, have to be verified by interrogating Peter,” said Badami. In the court, Peter told CBI officers, “Hold me as long as you can but I am not guilty of anything.”
Badami said the case is at a very crucial stage. While showing the investigation files to the Magistrate RV Adone, Badami said, “We have highlighted the financial transaction and a major portion goes to Vidhie and some to Sheena. We need to confront him about these transactions.” Badami also said they have been continuously working to collect more evidence.
“We have sent vital correspondence to the Interpol for details on Sheena’s bank accounts in Singapore and Hong Kong. The reply is expected late on Monday.” ”Peter has raised Vidhie as his own daughter and paid for her education and stay abroad. So what is so surprising about money being transferred abroad?” asked Gheewala.
He said Peter answered all the questions asked during the polygraph test, which does not have any evidentiary value. Gheewala added that CBI should be asked to reveal how Sheena was able to travel to Hong Kong and Singapore to open a bank account without her passport.
“No account can be opened overseas unless you present your passport. My contention is that Sheena did not travel abroad. There could be a benami account in her name operated by Indrani, since she was capable of acquiring her forged signatures,” Gheewala argued. “The CBI has not come up with strong evidences to claim the custody of Peter.” Gheewala added.
While standing near the witness box, Peter was seen pulling up his pants. When one of the journalists said he had lost weight, Peter agreed and said, “It’s like being in a spa.” When the CBI advocates asked him to get a belt for himself, Peter pointed at a CBI officer and said they are not allowing him a belt.
'My father’s innocent'
Rahul, who was present in the court, told mid-day, “There are no sufficient grounds to arrest my father. In fact, he shouldn’t have been arrested at all. He has done nothing wrong but trust his wife.” He said that Peter should have been in judicial custody by now instead of CBI custody.