MUMBAI: Observing that the city police was conducting a "fair and proper" investigation into the alleged suicide of TV star Pratyusha Banerjee, the Bombay High Court today refused to transfer probe to Mumbai Police Crime Branch as sought by the popular actress' mother Shoma Banerjee.
"After perusing the records and investigation papers we are of the view that there is no need to transfer probe to any other agency. We do not feel that the police is doing any unfair or improper investigation as alleged by the petitioner (Shoma). We also do not think that the police is showing any favour to the accused (Pratyusha's partner Rahul Raj Singh)," a division bench of justices N H Patil and A M Badar said. The court, however, kept Shoma's petition pending and directed the suburban Bangur Nagar police to file a progress report on the probe on May 4 before it.
"The police is on the right track. Any investigation requires time. Especially in such cases where there is no direct evidence there is more pressure on the police. The investigation is at a sensitive stage," the court said.
The bench also noted that the Deputy Commissioner of Police concerned is supervising the probe.
Shoma's lawyer K T Thomas claimed that the police investigation was misleading. "The investigation being done by the local police is misleading and we fear that in future it would be scuttled. We are seeking for the probe to be transferred to the crime branch under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police," Thomas told the court.
He added that Shoma had told the police that she fears that her daughter was "murdered".
Public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde, however, argued that Shoma in her first statement to the police on April 2 said she does not have any suspicion on anyone. "Only on April 5, the police received a complaint from the actress' parents against Rahul," Shinde said.
He added that the police has so far recorded the statements of 26 witnesses including the deceased's relatives, friends, neighbours, maids and bank managers where the deceased had accounts.
"Two mobile phones belonging to the Pratyusha and one belonging to the accused Rahul has been seized by the police and sent to the forensic lab. The postmortem report suggests ligature marks on the deceased's neck but the exact cause of death will be revealed only after we get the viscera report," Shinde said.