News Karnataka
Wednesday, April 24 2024

Broadcast of Indrani Mukerjea Series Allowed Despite CBI Opposition

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A special court in this place dismissed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) plea on Tuesday, stating that it lacked the “inherent powers” to order a halt to the broadcast of a documentary series about Indrani Mukerjea, the main suspect in the Sheena Bora murder case.

The CBI Special Judge, SP Naik-Nimbalkar, stated that the investigating agency may pursue a suitable legal action if given advice.

The judge determined that no legal provision pertaining to such directives had been brought to his attention by the prosecution.

On February 23, the documentary series titled ‘The Indrani Mukerjea Story: The Buried Truth’ will debut on Netflix. It explores the mystery surrounding the disappearance of 25-year-old Bora.

The CBI requested the court “to issue direction to accused and others concerned for staying/stopping the featuring of the accused persons and the persons connected with the case in the documentary by Netflix and its broadcasting on any platform till the conclusion of the ongoing trial” in an application submitted through public prosecutor C J Nandode.

The investigative agency stated on Tuesday that the documentary, with its promotional claims of “new revelations” without offering proof, can incite prejudice and mislead the public, particularly prosecution witnesses in cases where the court is still hearing the case and prosecution evidence is at a critical stage.

It further argued that there was a dishonest motivation for being included in the documentary and for its release.

The CBI asserted that this could reveal witnesses’ identities, jeopardize their security, and discourage them from providing accurate testimony, all of which directly threatened their safety and protection.

Advocate Abad Ponda, appearing for Netflix, contended that only the high courts and the Supreme Court had jurisdiction to pass a direction on such a plea.

He submitted that the provisions of witness protection are available in TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) and Maharashtra Protection of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) matters and not in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The judge, after hearing both sides, held that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) has the remedy for the exigency of the situation, for which the CBI has called upon his court to invoke its inherent power, “which I fear is not vested with this court”.

The Supreme Court had granted bail to Indrani and laid down certain conditions for her release. However, the CBI has not contended that she has violated the bail conditions, the court said.

“As there is no legal provision brought to my notice and as this court has no inherent power to pass any such order, the application is rejected,” the court said.

It further stated that the CBI may pursue the proper legal action if advised.

In April 2012, Bora’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna, her driver Shyamvar Rai, and Indrani are accused of strangling her to death in a car.

Indrani’s daughter from a previous relationship was named Bora. Her corpse was set ablaze in a nearby forest in the Raigad district.

After Rai’s arrest in another case led to his revelation of the killing, the murder came to light in 2015.

August 2015 saw Indrani’s arrest, and May 2022 saw her release on bond.

Rai, Khanna, and Peter Mukerjea, the other accused parties in the case, are likewise free on bond.

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