26 Jul 2016

Sanjeev Khanna was not present at the time of Sheena Bora’s murder: defence

Sanjeev Khanna, Indrani Mukerjea’s ex-husband and a key accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, was not with Ms. Mukerjea at the time of the murder, according to his lawyer, Hrishikesh Mundargi. Mr. Mundargi made that claim at a city civil and sessions court hearing on Mr. Khanna’s bail application on Monday.

He also argued that the statements of Shyamvar Rai, Ms. Mukerjea’s driver and an accused-turned-approver, cannot be relied upon as it was contrary to the statements of other witnesses. He said that only the parts of the driver’s confession that are not contrary to the statements of other witnesses and the charge sheet could be valid. The defence lawyer said that there is no substantial material to prove that Mr. Khanna was present with Ms. Mukherjea, and Mr. Rai when Ms. Bora was murdered.
His main contention was this: Mr. Khanna had checked into a hotel at Worli at 6:05 p.m.; there were several phone calls and two SMS between Mr. Khanna and Ms. Mukerjea between 6:07 p.m. and 7:24 p.m.; at the time of those calls, Ms. Mukerjea’s approximate location, as per cellular tower data, was Bandra. All this suggested that during that time Mr. Khanna was not with Ms. Mukherjea. He said that as a result, the statement by Rahul, Peter Mukerjea’s son — that between 6:30 p.m. and 6:40 p.m., when he went to drop Sheena off at Bandra, he saw Mr. Khanna with Ms. Mukerjea — cannot be relied upon.

Mr. Mundargi said that while the statement of the watchman at Ms. Mukherjea’s Worli residence — that she was seen at the building at 9:30 p.m. with a third person, alleged to be Mr Khanna — could be disproved by the records of his hotel, which showed that at 9:36 p.m. Khanna had placed an order and signed a receipt.

Mr. Mundargi also argued that the watchman’s statement could not be relied on because it was unreliable in other respects, since he had said Ms. Mukerhea was at her residence at 9.30 p.m. when her call records show that she was in Bandra.

The lawyer said that Mr. Khanna had visited Mumbai only because he wanted to take his daughter to Calcutta to celebrate his birthday with her. He said that statements of witnesses were recorded in such a way that seemed to be for the purpose of fixing Mr. Khanna’s presence with Indrani Mukerjea and the driver.

Mr. Khanna is currently in the Arthur Road jail. CBI counsel Bharat Badami will present the case from prosecution on Tuesday.

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