Mumbai: Brushing aside rumours that he was removed as Mumbai Police Commissioner due to the fallout of high profile Sheena Bora murder case, Maharashtra government on Tuesday confirmed that Rakesh Maria will continue to head the probe till the case comes to a chargesheet stage.
Speaking to an English news channel, Maharashtra Home Secretary KP Bakshi said, “There is no connection between transfer of Maria and Sheena Bora murder case..”
He further said, “Maria is an excellent officer and Mr Javed is also a responsible officer.”
“No this is not correct. It's a routine transfer and elevation,” he replied on being asked if the state govt was unhappy with Rakesh Maria's way of handling the Sheena Bora case.
"There should be no question of any connection between Sheena Bora murder probe and Rakesh Maria's promotion transfer," he added.
Bakshi further said, “He (Rakesh Maria) has been communicated that he will be probing the Sheena Bora murder case.”
While clearing the air over the investigation process of the said case, Bakshi said, "The probe is heading in the right direction."
"He (Rakesh Maria) will be involved in everything including the question process," Bakshi replied when asked whether the former Mumbai commissioner will be involved while questioning media baron Peter Mukerjea who is the husband of the prime accused and mother of Sheena, Indrani Mukerjea.
Police had earlier extensively grilled Peter Mukerjea, though he is not an accused in the case so far.
Earlier in the day, in a dramatic turn of events, barely 10 hours after he victoriously announced major developments in the sensational Sheena Bora murder probe, high-profile Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria suddenly found himself promoted as the DGP-Home Guards.
He was replaced by another equally fine IPS officer, Javed Ahmed, and the city police commissioner`s post was upgraded from Additional DG rank to DGP rank.
Coming as it did just 22 days before Maria`s scheduled term was to expire September 30, the unexpected promotion set tongues wagging across the political establishment, with uncomfortable questions like whether he was actually `removed`.
Speculation was rife in official circles that a major 'breakthrough' was expected in the case with Mukerjea's sustained and repeated grilling, several times by Maria himself.
Maria's hands-on approach in the the case - especially his meticulous personal interrogation of the three prime accused and quizzing others for hours - raised eyebrows and even became the butt of jokes by some senior politicians, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The bones and skull of Sheena were exhumed and collected from the Pen forest, in Raigad district ten days ago -- August 28, 2015 -- after the exact spot was pointed out by Indrani's ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyam Rai who were taken there by police.
The trio was accused of strangulating Sheena in a car in Bandra late April 24, 2012 and then driving to Pen forest where they dumped the corpse inside a suitcase and set it on fire .