1,582 days later...
Accused in the 2012 murder case, he was housed in Arthur Road jail, came out around 8.30 pm on Friday
Peter Mukerjea, accused along with his wife Indrani in the murder of his step-daughter Sheena Bora, finally gets bail after spending over four years in jail
FOR the family of former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea, 64, the long wait to see him released from jail finally ended late Friday evening.
The release was delayed by a few hours owing to a technical glitch in his court release order. Once a release order is handed over, the inmate is released within an hour or two after the prison formalities are done.
‘My heart is in Mumbai with Peter wishing him the strength to return to normal life. We were also worried about his health especially with the COVID-19 outbreak. He has recently undergone a bypass surgery’ Gautam Mukerjea, Peter’s brother
HOWEVER, the family was informed that a technical glitch had held the release for some time and Mukerjea finally came out around 8.30 pm. Seventy other inmates who were supposed to be released yesterday were also delayed and exited the prison premises sometime after Mukerjea.
Advocate Amit Ghag, who appeared for Mukerjea before the trial court, informed mid-day that it could be a typing error by the court clerk. “We got it sorted soon though,” he said.
The Bombay High Court had granted the CBI six weeks to appeal against its order of granting bail to Mukerjea, who was arrested in November 2015 in connection with the murder of Sheena Bora, his step-daughter in April 2012.
The CBI, however, did not approach the Apex Court within the time period, making way for Mukerjea’s release.
"Since Peter had already got bail from the Bombay High Court on February 6, the time period given to CBI for appeal was up to March 19. He has now been released against a surety bail bond of R2 lakh and his passport has been deposited before the court,” Ghag added.
Family sends wishes
Mukerjea’s brother Gautam who is in Goa spoke to mid-day over a phone call saying, "My heart is in Mumbai with Peter wishing him the strength to return to normal life after spending four and a half years in jail. We were also worried about his health especially with the COVID-19 outbreak. He has recently undergone bypass surgery," said Gautam Mukerjea, 62.
Gautam, who is a witness in the case, said that he did not wish to jeopardise the case for his brother. “I am yet to depose before the court and did not wish to put Peter in any sort of trouble by speaking to him until the trial concludes.
Mukerjea’s son Rahul and daughter Vidhi are also witnesses in the case and are expected to abide by the court conditions. The family wants the accused to now acclimatise to life outside. “A lot has changed in the world of television. I am sure Peter will have to start from basics,” Gautam said, adding that Mukerjea will now be staying in his Worli flat with his sister.
A senior CBI officer said that a draft appeal in the case was ready to be filed before the Apex Court, but as per the protocol, “the appeal has to be approved by various central law agencies - Director Prosecution and Department of Personnel (Administrative Authority for CBI).”
The file, he said, “is at present before the Law and Judicial Ministry where the law officers will go through the draft, make necessary changes and only once they approve, the appeal will be filed before the SC." The officer said, "We have stated that Mukerjea is an accused in the case and we have already submitted evidence on record in its support." The bail, he said, would not affect the trial.
Peter’s brother, Gautam, who is a witness in the case, said that he did not wish to jeopardise the case for his brother by meeting him.
Peter Mukerjea finally walks out of Arthur Road Jail on Friday. (inset) Peter’s sister Shangon
Peter Mukerjea’s relatives and friends outside the jail.
Peter Mukerjea seen emerging from prison.