Free Press Journal

Charges framing put off till Nov 15


Special Judge took the decision after Peter’s lawyer sought time to read the charge sheet

Mumbai : Allowing the submissions advanced by former media baron Peter Mukherjea, a special court on Saturday postponed the framing of charges against all the accused in the high-profile murder of Sheena Bora till November 15.

It may be recalled that the special Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) court, which had taken cognizance of the second supplementary charge sheet on Friday, had directed the prosecution to start arguments over framing charges against all the three accused in the case.

On Saturday, when the matter was called out for hearing, Peter’s counsel Abad Ponda sought an adjournment, citing the short

time span given for the defence to go through the second supplementary charge sheet, which the CBI filed just a day before.

“We need to go through all the material which the investigating agency has placed on record and accordingly we will have to prepare counter arguments, which cannot be done within one day,” Ponda argued. After hearing his submissions, special Judge HS Mahajan postponed the hearing on framing of charges till November 15.

The special Judge had on Friday rejected an application of Peter’s on-record advocate Mihir Gheewala, who had sought an adjournment of two weeks.

The special court also directed the agency to hand over a copy of the disc of Peter’s interview to a national news channel.

Meanwhile, Shreyansh Mithare, the counsel appearing for Sanjeev Khanna (second husband of prime accused Indrani Mukherjea), moved an application, seeking copies of the statements made by the ‘secret witness’. Mithare claimed that the secret witness’ statements have not been provided to any of the accused so far.

Responding to his request, the special court denied providing the copy of the said witness’ statement, citing the ‘stage’ at which the case was. The special Judge, however, assured all the accused persons that copies of the statements of the said witness would be given to them once framing of charges is done.

While speaking to Free Press Journal, Mithare said, “There have been two instances wherein the special court has denied providing us (all the accused) copies of the statements of some witnesses, but the Bombay High Court has directed the special court to provide the same.”

It may be recalled that earlier the special court had denied handing over copies of the statements of Shyamvar Rai (Indrani’s former driver), who had nailed her in his testimony. The second such instance was of the statements of Shabnam, Peter’s first wife, who had highlighted the ‘character’ of her estranged husband.