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

Mid Day - - FRONT PAGE - VINOD KUMAR MENON vin­odm@mid-day.com

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.

CBI re­acts

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.

PIC/ASHISH RAJE;

Peter Muk­er­jea fi­nally walks out of Arthur Road Jail on Fri­day. (in­set) Peter’s sis­ter Shangon

PICS/ASHISH RAJE

Peter Muk­er­jea’s rel­a­tives and friends out­side the jail.

PIC/ASHISH RAJE

Peter Muk­er­jea seen emerg­ing from prison.

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