Days after Rakesh Maria was controversially transferred as Mumbai Police chief in the middle of the Sheena Bora murder investigation, Maharashtra's seniormost police officer has come out in his support.
"A police officer can do anything he wants while investigating a case. There is no bar in the law or statute. So where is anything wrong in that?" Sanjeev Dayal, Director General of Police, Maharashtra told NDTV, on criticism about Mr Maria's unusual level of involvement in the case.
The state government had made no secret of its unhappiness with Mr Maria's hands-on approach in the sensational murder case. "In my career of 32 years, I have never seen a police commissioner go to a police station," KP Bakshi, a top bureaucrat in the Home Ministry, had said while announcing that the case would be handed over to the CBI for an "impartial" inquiry.
The move to take the Mumbai Police off the case came as a huge surprise just days after Mr Maria was replaced by a new chief.
There were allegations that new Police Commissioner Ahmed Javed was "close to" former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea, the government said.
"The current Commissioner of Police Mr. Ahmad Javed met Mr. Peter Mukerjea and his wife at a time when there were no investigations against them," Maharashtra's police chief said, adding, "Both Mr Javed and Mr Maria are excellent officers and there is no way anyone can comment on their competence."
Mr Mukerjea's wife, Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested late last month on charges of killing Sheena Bora in 2012. Ms Mukerjea had always introduced Sheena as a younger sister. She was 24 when she was killed. Along with Ms Mukerjea, the police arrested her driver Shyam Rai and former husband Sanjeev Khanna.