Arrested in 2015 after her driver spilled the beans, Indrani Mukerjea set to walk out of jail on bail

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 18-05-2022 21:04 IST | Created: 18-05-2022 21:04 IST
Arrested in 2015 after her driver spilled the beans, Indrani Mukerjea set to walk out of jail on bail
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More than six years after she was arrested for the alleged murder of her own daughter, Indrani Mukerjea is set to leave Mumbai's Byculla women's prison as the Supreme Court granted her bail in the case on Wednesday.

While the trial of the Sheena Bora murder case is far from over, the story has seen some bizarre turns and twists so far.

Sheena Bora (24) was killed sometime in April 2012 if the investigators are to be believed, but the crime came to light three years later with the arrest of Shyamvar Rai, Indrani's former driver, for illegal possession of weapon on August 21, 2015.

During the interrogation, Rai told the police that he knew of a murder that had taken place in April 2012.

Indrani Mukerjea, a former media executive and the wife of media baron Peter Mukerjea, had strangulated her daughter Sheena in a car with the help of her former husband Sanjeev Khanna, Rai said.

Four days later, the police arrested Indrani. They also arrested Khanna, her former husband. Indrani maintained that she was being falsely implicated in the case. Mumbai Police claimed that Bora, her daughter from an earlier relationship, was killed by Indrani and Khanna in a car which Rai was driving, and the body was buried in a forest in neighbouring Raigad district the next day.

The body had been found in a decomposed state a month after the murder but remained unidentified for three years till Rai's alleged disclosure, the police said.

The case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September 2015. In November 2015, the CBI arrested Peter Mukerjea for allegedly being part of the conspiracy.

Indrani and Peter were unhappy with Sheena Bora's relationship with Rahul, Peter Mukerjea's son from earlier marriage, the CBI said. There was also a financial dispute between Sheena and her mother, it added.

In 2016, Rai sought to become a prosecution witness, claiming that he had had remorse for what he had done, and wanted to make a full disclosure.

When the trial began in 2017 and Rai's turn to depose came, he made shocking revelations. Indrani had planned Bora's murder with Khanna, he told the court.

She contacted Rai through her assistant and spoke to him on Skype, promising to take care of his family's medical and education needs if he helped them with the killing, he claimed.

Indrani told him that he would not have to do anything besides driving the car, Rai said.

On the day of the crime, Rai said, he and Indrani picked up Sheena in Indrani's car, then he gagged Sheena while Khanna held Sheena's hands and Indrani strangled her.

Indrani then sat on the dead Sheena's face and asked him to drive on, he said.

Indrani denied the allegations in the court. Rai had been lying, and on one occasion when the two of them were being brought to the court in the same vehicle, he asked for Rs 50 lakh for ''remaining silent,'' she alleged.

During her bail hearing, where she argued in person, Indrani claimed that Rai brought the sum down to Rs 5 lakh later, but she did not entertain him as she was innocent.

During their incarceration, Indrani and Peter filed for divorce, which was granted by a family court in the city on October 4, 2019.

While in prison, Indrani filed as many as 10 bail applications. At one point she claimed there was a threat to her life and sought that she be released on bail. The trial court, however, rejected her plea saying she was safer inside the Byculla women's prison than outside.

Subsequently, she claimed that the body found in the Raigad jungle was not Sheena's, and there were forensic differences between the decomposed body found in 2012 and the remains exhumed in 2015 from the same spot by the police.

In December 2021, Indrani wrote a letter to the CBI, making a sensational claim that Sheena was alive. A former woman police official lodged in the Byculla prison told her that while on vacation in Srinagar in 2017, she had seen someone who looked like Sheena, the letter said.

As per the arguments in the SC during Indrani's bail hearing, 67 witnesses, including Rai, and some forensic experts have deposed during the trial in the special CBI court here, and over 180 witnesses remain to be examined. The trial came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. The presiding judge was transferred in 2021 which again stopped the trial. A new judge was appointed last month.

Peter Mukerjea was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in February 2020. Khanna and Rai continue to be behind bars.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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