Mumbai: How Sheena Bora was killed -and by whom - should be determined by the country's premier investigating agency, the CBI, to ensure an "impartial" inquiry, said the Maharashtra government today.
The fact that the Mumbai police has been taken off the case just days after it got a new chief creates new suspense in a scandal packed plenty with mystery.
There are allegations that the new Police Chief Ahmed Javed is "close to" former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea, said KP Bakshi, a top bureaucrat in the Home Ministry. He attributed the re-assignment of the inquiry in part to "questions raised by the media".
Mr Mukerjea's wife, Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested late last month on charges of killing Sheena Bora in 2012. During her life, Ms Bora was introduced by Mr Mukerjea as a younger sister. She was 24 when she was killed. Along with Ms Mukerjea, the police has arrested her driver Shyam Rai and former husband Sanjeev Khanna (he is not Ms Bora's father).
When Ms Bora disappeared in April 2012, Ms Mukerjea said she had relocated to Los Angeles. At the time, Ms Bora was 24 and engaged to her step brother, Rahul Mukerjea, who is Mr Mukerjea's son from an earlier marriage.
Rakesh Maria, as police chief, interrogated the three murder suspects and Mr Mukerjea himself, seen by critics as attention-seeking at a time when he was up for promotion. Three weeks ago, Mr Maria was abruptly transferred. "In my career of 32 years, I have never seen a police commissioner go to a police station," said Mr Bakshi, doing little to dilute the suspicion that Mr Maria irked the government with his hands-on approach.
After initially examining whether Ms Bora was killed because her mother was upset about her romance with Rahul Mukerjea, the police shifted focus to a financial motive. In 2009, when the Mukerjeas sold their stake in the INX broadcasting group they had founded, there were reports of money being embezzled and landing in proxy firms.