A special court in Mumbai directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to expedite the trial in the Sheena Bora murder case in which four persons, including her mother Indrani Mukerjea, have been named as accused.
The court’s order came after Indrani, a prime accused in the case, filed a plea for expediting the trial and conducting it on a day-to-day or weekly basis.
Special CBI Judge S P Naik-Nimbalkar had allowed her plea on June 20. The detailed order was made available on Thursday.
Indrani, in her plea, had stated that the prosecution (CBI) has examined 71 witnesses so far and has submitted a list of 92 more witnesses to be examined in the matter.
“For several months, the prosecution is unable to conduct the matter expeditiously. Therefore, the fundamental right of the accused to speedy trial is necessary to be considered and the matter may be expedited,” the application said.
In its reply, the CBI said they are expeditiously conducting the trial, summoning and examining the witnesses.
The probe agency said the trial was not being conducted expeditiously due to filing of miscellaneous applications by the defence and deliberate failure to complete the cross-examination in a timely manner.
Adjournments for cross-examination preparations and prolonged dates for cross-examination taken by the defence are part of the record, the CBI said, adding the prosecution was not responsible for any delay.
The court, after hearing both the sides, allowed Indrani’s plea and directed the CBI to expedite the trial.
“With consent of all the parties, hereafter, dates of the proceedings are fixed on every first Thursday and first Friday and every third Thursday and third Friday of each month,” the court said.
Parties are at liberty to adjust the dates in case of any emergency and the CBI must provide names of the witnesses, who are to be examined on fixed dates, in advance, the court further said.
As per the prosecution, Bora (24) was allegedly strangled to death in a car by Indrani Mukerjea, her then driver Shyamvar Rai and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna in April 2012.
The body of Sheena Bora, who was Indrani’s daughter from a previous relationship, was burnt in a forest in neighbouring Raigad district.
The murder came to light in 2015 after Rai told police about it after being held in another case.
Peter Mukerjea was also arrested for allegedly being part of the conspiracy.
All the accused are currently out on bail.