Thursday, 27 January, 2022
HomeIndiaSupercop stories: Rakesh Maria’s tell-all book ‘exposes’ murky Mumbai Police tales

Supercop stories: Rakesh Maria’s tell-all book ‘exposes’ murky Mumbai Police tales

Three Maharashtra supercops connected with Sheena Bora murder probe face allegations of having 'close social links' with suspects Peter & Indrani Mukerjea.

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Mumbai: Three veteran IPS officers. A high-profile murder. Allegations that all three had “social links” with the murder suspects.

Former Mumbai Police commissioner Rakesh Maria has kicked up a faceoff with two of his former IPS colleagues — Javed Ahmad and Deven Bharti — over allegations that they had close links with power couple Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are in jail for allegedly murdering the latter’s daughter, Sheena Bora, in 2012. 

It’s an allegation Maria himself courted when he was transferred from his posting as Mumbai Police chief five years ago. The fact that Maria took “too much interest” in the case, personally interrogating the suspects despite being the Mumbai Police commissioner, was a subject of much speculation when he was promoted as Director General of Maharashtra home guards in 2015. 

Both Ahmad and Bharti, who was once seen as Maria’s protege, have denied the allegations. But Maria continues to stand by his claim, made in his book Let Me Say It Now, which was published Monday.  

In the book, Maria has alleged that, during the Sheena Bora murder investigation, Ahmad and Bharti withheld their closeness to the Mukerjeas. Observers have described the allegations as alarming, but also pointed out the “cut-throat culture” prevalent within Mumbai Police that often sees officers adopt extreme means to deprive rivals of credit.        


Also Read: Reviled as daughter-killer, Indrani Mukerjea is now a stick to beat the Chidambarams with


‘Could have compromised the investigation’

The Sheena Bora murder case came to light in August 2015, three years after she went missing. Her mother Indrani Mukerjea and stepfather Peter were subsequently arrested for the alleged murder, as were Indrani’s second husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai.

Ahmad, who retired in January 2016, is currently the Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, while Bharti is the head of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Maria retired in January 2017.

All three were involved in one way or the other in the investigation into the Sheena Bora murder case. 

Maria was the Mumbai Police commissioner when the murder was reported, and he was succeeded by Ahmad. Bharti, who was then the joint commissioner of police for law and order, was allegedly mentioned by the suspects during their questioning.

In his book, Maria said Ahmad and Bharti were socially closer to the Mukerjeas than him. Many pages are dedicated to clarifying the reasons he was moved out as Mumbai Police commissioner a day after he questioned Peter Mukerjea on 7 September 2015.

According to Maria, Peter had revealed during his questioning that he had informed Bharti about the disappearance of Sheena Bora, his step-daughter and his son Rahul’s fiancée, in 2012. Maria said both Peter and Indrani had told him during investigations that they had informed “Deven” — they were allegedly on first-name basis with him — that Sheena was missing but Bharti did not share this information with colleagues during the probe. 

Bharti, who Maria said was present in the room during Peter’s interrogation, maintained a stoic face and silence. However, the next day, Maria was transferred. 

The state home department, which oversees police, was then held by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Other allegations made by Maria include that Rahul had tried to lodge a missing person’s complaint with the Crime Branch in 2012, when Bharti was the Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch), but the complaint wasn’t taken.

“By not revealing their proximity to the accused both Bharti and Ahmad could have compromised the investigation into a sensational and complicated murder case,” said a retired Mumbai Police commissioner.

“It is a given that, during investigations, if the officers are connected or know the accused they must inform the superiors of the same,” the officer added. 

Another insider said that personnel of Mumbai Police often compromised investigations or conducted them shoddily so that the credit did not go to particular officers. 

“There are various lobbies within the IPS who work at cross-purposes. This is the reason for low convictions and the police department being rebuked for shoddy investigation,” the insider added. 

A third insider talked about a turf war between Maria and Bharti despite having once shared a guru-shishya-like relationship. 

“It is Maria who started giving Bharti more prominence in investigations. They were a good team. However, when Fadnavis became the chief minister, Bharti got closer to him, while Maria kept away from the Chief Minister’s Office,” the insider said. 

“So, basically, it was about who was closer to the chief minister. The actual fall-out started after Maria took over as Mumbai Police commissioner,” the insider added.

Sources privy to the trio’s career said all three had close ties with Bollywood and the high-profile social circuit in not just Mumbai but also other parts of the country. Maria happens to be the son of Vijay Madia, a Hindi film producer.    

Both Bharti and Ahmad, in separate statements to the media, have dismissed the contents of Maria’s book as fiction. While Bharti said the whole investigation team was aware of “all the developments”, Ahmad told the media that Maria’s comments were “in very bad taste and far from the truth”.

However, speaking to TV channels, Maria said he stood by the claims made in his book, published by Westland. 

The Sheena Bora murder case trial is currently underway in a special CBI court at Mumbai.  


Also Read: Founders in jail, image tarnished by ‘scam’, INX Media now just a bouquet of music channels’


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This article does not discuss a ingle word on Maria’s disclosure of 26/11 conspiracy and the Congress plan to show it as Hindu Terror and the details of this in his book.

    It is such an ameturish job to give priority to a murder than to a terrorist attack. OR The Print is biased to Congress !

  2. Without any body’s permission & informing any body, including the then CM he rushed to the police station to conduct inquiry the accused, it was
    reported, everyone including the then CM was surprised such a high position officer has rushed to conduct an preliminary inquiry by himself. This has raised the eye brows of many, it was also rumored that he is been advised by the NCP chief with whom he had a very well longtime cordial relation. Because of sudden transfer of Rakesh lead to huge monetary loss to this influential politician, which could have arranged in abroad.

    This is also a reason believed that the then CM was preferred Devan over him. Normally, whether it is Devan or Ahmed any Sr. Officer unless have strongman politician support like Rakesh, no one will risk their career & fame in any Murder, especially like such high profile case. Both Devan & Ahmed has earned their name as good officers initially, they may not realized the gravity of the case especially the Murder, once they are near the truth they backed off. But not Rakesh, who defended himself saying that since his subordinates does not understand the Brit English fluently used by the main lady culprit/accused, which did not convinced any one & resulted in his immediate transfer. Who lost his credibility.

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