Indrani Mukerjea was a “schemer and a lady of dominant nature” who used to interfere in the affairs of a media group through her husband Peter who was the CEO, though not being on payroll, a ‘secret witness’ in the Sheena Bora murder case has claimed. Peter was arrested in November last year on the charge of murder conspiracy. A special court today opened the statement of ‘secret witness’ Ravina Raj Kohli, former president of Star News, from a sealed cover and handed it over to the defence lawyers.
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On November 21, the CBI had told the Bombay High Court that it will give a copy of the secret witness’s statement, withheld so far by the agency, to Peter and other accused after deleting a portion of it.
“To my understanding, Indrani is a schemer, manipulator and a lady of dominant nature,” Kohli said in a four-page statement recorded on February 10.
Sheena, daughter of Indrani from her previous relationship, was killed in a car on April 24, 2012, and her body was later dumped and set afire in neighbouring Raigad district.
Police had last year arrested Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyamvar Rai for murder and destruction of evidence. Rai later turned approver.
Peter and Indrani were said to be against Sheena’s relationship with Rahul Mukerjea, Peter’s son from his former wife.
Kohli stated that before Indrani’s marriage with Peter, she had received a message from her saying that the latter had settled everything with Khanna.
“In my view it (the message) was sent by her (Indrani) to avoid any problem in her marriage with Peter,” Kohli told CBI.
Peter was the chief executive officer of Star India network from 1999-2007. He and Indrani got married in 2002.
After leaving Star in 2007, Indrani established news channel INX News, and Peter managed its two channels, 9X and 9XM. Peter and Indrani exited the company in 2009.
Kohli stated that Indrani had told her she was running a recruitment agency in Kolkata before shifting to Mumbai. Indrani later opened branch offices of the agency in Delhi and Bengaluru.
“In due course, she (Indrani) started providing HR support to Star and at the time of her marriage with Peter, she was providing maximum human resources to Star.
“I came to know from my sources that Indrani had manipulated this contract of recruitment with Star through Peter by throwing the threat of poaching to the media company,” Kohli said.
Kohli’s statement also said that Peter and Indrani were known as “Bunty and Babli” (names of the characters of con artists in the 2005 Bollywood movie).
She further told CBI that she never met Sheena but came to know from media sources that she was daughter of Indrani, who used to project Sheena as her sister.
“It was also a rumour that Indrani and Peter had floated some company in the name of Sheena and both of them had parked huge money in the bank accounts in India and abroad,” Kohli added.