Mumbai: A special CBI court on Wednesday directed banks and other institutions not to act on any letters sent by the accused in the Sheena Bora murder case without personal confirmation from the sender after Peter Mukerjea pointed to a letter, “purportedly” sent by him with his “forged” signature. It also bore his wife Indrani Mukerjea’s signature allegedly relinquishing his rights in her favour over the joint bank account and 49 NRE fixed deposits.
The letter, submitted by Peter’s lawyers, was sent by Indrani after getting permission of court to send certain documents to banks.
Peter’s lawyers Mihir Gheewala and Amit Ghag moved an “urgent” handwritten application on his behalf before special CBI trial court Judge H S Mahajan, saying that on Wednesday a Mumbai bank said it had received a letter from Peter. The letter said he was “relinquishing his rights over a bank account which is jointly held by him and Indrani—both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case—along with 49 NRE fixed deposits”.
Gheewala said he had sought inspection of applications made by Indrani from the court records. He said, “The inspection revealed that Indrani had sought permission on February 1 to sign on four letters, unsigned handwritten carbon copies of which were submitted in court.” He said, “Two of them are purportedly written by Peter addressed to Syndicate Bank, Worli, and ANZ Bank, New Zealand.”
He pointed out that they were unsigned and added, “It is abundantly clear that Accused Number 1 (Indrani) has perpetuated a fraud on the court by presenting an annexure of a draft letter purportedly of Accused 4 (Peter). Further, Indrani has either herself or through someone else forged the signature of Peter…”
Gheewala said, “Peter will take appropriate steps in law to protect his rights” but sought immediate orders to prevent the banks from acting on the letters.
Indrani was arrested in August 2015 along with her former husband and driver and has been charged with the murder of her “biological daughter, Sheena”. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later arrested Peter, in November 2015, when the chargesheet was filed against the trio. He has been claiming that he was misled by Indrani all along about Sheena’s whereabouts.
CBI prosecutor Bharat Badami said the court may pass “suitable orders” in the matter. Judge Mahajan, in his order, said, “Actually, this court has merely allowed Indrani Mukerjea to sign and forward documents true copies of which are preserved on record… She is in judicial custody.” He said the court is not concerned with the contents of such documents.
The court directed the banks to first confirm personally from the accused before acting on such letters. The judge also said he had made it clear in earlier orders, too, that “Indrani Mukerjea is solely responsible for contents in those letters or documents where she was allowed to put her signatures…”
He said given that in this case, Peter “suspects something is wrong” it was “desirable for banks to first get confirmation from both Indrani and Peter, the genuiness, correctnesss of such documents or documents produced by them”.