The Maharashtra government on Friday referred the Sheena Bora murder case to the CBI following controversies involving two top police officers who were involved in the probe.
The move comes after former Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria reportedly showed disinterest in handling the probe, and his successor Ahmad Javed saying he knew television baron Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani, the main accused, "socially".
In what is seen as a snub to the two top cops, the decision for a probe free from "prejudices" was announced at a press conference by additional chief secretary (home) KP Bakshi who said the financial angle of the case was also taken into account.
"It cannot be seen merely as a murder case. We believe that there are economic offences linked to the murder. There should be a comprehensive probe, " Bakshi said.
The state government's decision was based on a "status report" by director general of police (DGP) Sanjeev Dayal in which he, according to sources, recommended that the past and present CPs should not be involved in the probe.
Police sources said Javed and the Mukerjeas interacted in 2014 during Eid celebrations hosted at the Worli police officers mess. Though the home department was of the opinion that no rules were breached, it thought it was better to ask a neutral agency to probe the case.
Bakshi said the government was disturbed at reports linking Rakesh Maria's transfer to the case and that it wanted to "assure" people that the government will not interfere in the case.
But a comment he made at the press conference clearly indicated that the government was not happy with the way Maria handled the case.
"In my last 32 years of service I have never seen a police commissioner (Maria) go to the police station to conduct an investigation," Bakshi told reporters.
Maria, who personally interrogated the accused and others including Peter Mukerjea, was shunted from the post earlier this month by promoting him as DG (Home Guards). DG-rank officer Ahmad Javed was then brought in as the Mumbai police chief
The government, however, announced the same evening that Maria will continue to supervise the probe, though it dragged on defining the actual role of the high-profile officer who was reportedly unwilling to take up the responsibility.
Bakshi said the state government will hand over all the documents and evidences connected to the case as soon as the Centre communicates the CBI's willingness to take up the case.
24-year old Sheena Bora was murdered allegedly by her mother and INX co-founder Indrani, along with her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyamwar Rai on April 24, 2012.