Adjournment of court marks Sheena Bora murder trial
The prosecution has been alleging that the accused have been delaying the case as the case has almost come to a standstill.
Exasperated at another adjournment in the Sheena Bora murder trial, public prosecutor in the case advocate Bharat Badami today told judge JC Jagdale of special CBI court, "We are worried about safety and security of my witness. What kind of cross examination is this? They keep wanting something or other just for delaying justice."
The prosecution has been alleging that the accused have been delaying the case as the case has almost come to a standstill. The accused, former television honcho Peter Mukherjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna were supposed to be brought to the court today along with the witness - Indrani's former driver Shyamvar Rai. However, they were not brought.
It was during the beginning of proceedings that special CBI court in Mumbai had decided to hold the trial of Sheena Bora murder case on a daily basis. Even after the judge was changed the promise of day to day hearing remained. It was on July 28, that the recording of evidence by Rai began, but two months down the line it is far from getting over.
The prosecution had taken two days for Rai's deposition where he spoke about how Indrani had planned the murder of her first born daughter Sheena. He also told the court how on her instructions he had recceed the Raigarh area and how indrani and Khanna had strangulated Sheena and disposed off her body in Raigadh.
In august Indrani's lawyer Sudeep Pasbola, started cross examining Rai, however, he isn't cooperating.
Rai was earlier an accused in the case, but was later made an approver. According to prosecution, he is the only witness who had seen Indrani and Sanjeev strangulate Sheena, and thus his cross examination is of prime importance. However, there are a few call data records that do not form a part of the evidence right now, but with that in hand the defense wants to confront Rai.
The court had summoned officers of Airtel and Vodafone who agreed to provide call details and subscriber information of numbers allegedly used by Rai, Khanna, and indrani's step son Rahul Mukerjea. Indrani's lawyers claim that Rai was using multiple phones in 2012, but CBI has provided the call record of the only one phone.
The defence told court that all these evidence material are crucial and after going through them, Rai will be questioned, to bring out the contradictions in his statement. This could in many ways help the defence in weakening prosecutions case. However according to telecom officials there is no fixed time for the telecom companies to give the 2012 record of calls. It could take weeks for the evidence to be produced.
Lawyer Gunjan Mangala who is representing Indrani along with Pasbola, however, said that they have never asked for cross examination to be stalled. "Cross examination can continue, we just told the court that these evidences are crucial. We don't know why the witness and accused were not brought to court today. We will go ahead with the cross examination even if the call records don't come by October 23," said Gunjan.
Indrani was arrested by Khar police on August 25, 2015 and a few months later Peter too was apprehended. The trial started almost a year ago, but the court has not even recorded the evidence of even one witness. Also, the court will be closed during Diwali. The case has now been adjourned for further hearing on October 23