Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) says that media baron Peter Mukerjea has been "evasive" and "not cooperating" in the Sheena Bora murder case, and is likely to seek extension of his police custody, his family has come out in support of him.
Peter Mukerjea's family issued a statement to the media on Thursday saying that they are 'confident of Peter's innocence.'
The family also requested the media to act in a responsible manner and allow the investigative agencies to reach their conclusion. Mukerjea's family requested the media to respect the "privacy, reputation and image of a self-made and respected individual and his family that has already suffered trauma in this case."
"It would be best at this time that the agencies are allowed to conduct their work in an unhampered manner - without irresponsible conclusions being arrived at in the interim period by any party," the statement read.
Here's the full text of the statement:
In light of the recent allegations made against Peter Mukerjea in relation to the Sheena Bora murder case and the extensive media coverage of it, the family has issued a statement that voices their our unified views.
We would like to state from the outset that we recognise the importance of a free and responsible media. Further, we would also like to state that we trust the investigating agencies will continue to do their hard work with honesty and sincerity to seek justice in this case.
Peter Mukerjea’s arrest has shocked our family and friends around the world. This has been a trying time for the family as it would be for anyone in similar circumstances. Peter is a much loved member of the family, known for his generous and compassionate nature and an honourable and impeccable reputation.
The whole family is confident of Peter’s innocence and we are in no doubt that due process will ultimately reveal this. It would be best at this time that the agencies are allowed to conduct their work in an unhampered manner - without irresponsible conclusions being arrived at in the interim period by any party. We trust that the media recognises that this matter concerns the privacy, reputation and image of a self-made and respected individual and his family that has already suffered trauma in this case.
We request that the media respect this, while they continue to report on the case. We also feel that unbridled speculation in the media about Peter’s culpability apart from being hurtful is counterproductive to a smooth and fair investigation and trial.
Mukerjea, whose police custody will end on November 26, was brought to Delhi on Tuesday and is being questioned by the CBI on financial deals that are viewed to be a possible motive behind the murder.
The agency has been scrutinising bank accounts held jointly by Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea, arrested for killing her daughter Sheena Bora.
The source of money in several accounts, including ones in HDFC, Barclays and Kotak Mahindra, is also being probed. The agency has identified bank accounts of Indrani and Peter and found that Indrani has over a dozen fixed deposits.
The agency has earlier revealed that the motive behind the murder was monetary gains.
Peter's son Rahul is also in Delhi and has been called twice to join the investigation.
According to CBI, Rahul Mukerjea and Sheena Bora were in a relationship, which both Peter and Indrani disapproved of.
Peter Mukerjea is the fourth accused to be arrested in connection with the case so far. His wife Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai were arrested by the CBI earlier.
“Rahul Mukerjea is an important link in the murder of Sheena Bora, as he has provided several important materials to the investigators against the accused in the case,” a CBI source told PTI.
According to investigators, Sheena was blackmailing Indrani that if she did not give her a 3BHK flat in the city, she would expose her by telling people that she was Indrani’s daughter, and not sister, as the latter had claimed.
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