Updated: January 25, 2022 7:00:15 am
Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea, facing trial for the alleged murder of her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012, approached a special court on Monday seeking a reply from the CBI on whether it has taken any steps to record the statement of a fellow jail inmate — a police inspector — who she claims had seen Sheena alive last year in Srinagar. The CBI in-charge court has directed the agency to file a reply to the plea and posted the matter for February 4.
In her plea, Indrani stated, “As I am still in the dark almost after a month of informing the CBI and am extremely anxious and eager to know what action the CBI has taken or is proposing to take, I have approached the court on how they plan to take this forward. Justice delayed is justice denied.” She added that she has reason to believe that her daughter is “definitely alive”.
In a letter to the CBI joint director on November 27, 2021, Indrani has claimed that inspector Asha Korke, arrested in connection with an extortion case in November, had approached her at the Byculla women’s jail and claimed that she had seen Sheena alive in ‘June end/July 2021’ at Dal Lake while on a vacation to Srinagar.
The CBI, which took over the case from Mumbai Police, has claimed that Sheena was murdered by Indrani in conspiracy with other accused on April 24, 2012. Indrani has been behind bars since 2015 facing trial for the murder, with forensic experts claiming that skeletal remains exhumed then were that of Sheena.
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In her handwritten application submitted to the court through her lawyer Sana Raees Khan, Indrani has claimed that on November 25, 2021, Korke approached her and informed her that she had seen a young woman at Dal Lake and thought she looked familiar. She first thought she had seen her in a TV serial or movie but later realised she had seen her photograph in newspapers and on TV for the past few years, the plea claimed.
“Ms Korke claims that she went up to the woman and called her “Sheena”, to which the woman spontaneously replied in the affirmative. Ms Korke claimed that the woman further asked her, ‘How do you know me? Who are you’?” the plea claims.
The plea further claimed that after Korke introduced herself, the woman asked her if she had come to put her behind bars. The plea claimed that Korke then tried to reason with ‘Sheena’ and said that she must come forward as she is alive and her parents are incarcerated for her murder. The plea alleges that she even offered to help the woman with the process and told her not to worry about any further trouble.
“Ms Korke claimed that in response to her well-meaning suggestion, Sheena told her, ‘I have started my new life. I do not wish to return to my old life anymore,’” Indrani’s plea claims. She further said that Korke told her a man, “who looked like a foreigner” arrived on a motorcycle and ‘Sheena’ hurriedly left with him.
Indrani, in her plea, has further claimed that she asked Korke why she had not revealed this to the Srinagar Police or Mumbai Police on her return, but she was told that since her own daughter was not interested, despite knowing that she was behind bars for her murder, she did not bother about a matter that did not concern her.
Indrani’s plea claimed that Korke told her that Sheena was an adult and had a right to live wherever she wants, adding that she did not want to get involved further and “spoil her vacation”.
Indrani’s plea claimed that Korke told her that she felt that she realised that she had made a grave mistake by not disclosing the matter.
“She (Korke) felt as though because of her reluctance to reveal such a serious matter at the appropriate time, she had to come and face me in prison as an accused in another matter,” the plea claimed, adding that Korke allegedly told her that she did not want to “carry the burden” anymore. Indrani’s plea added that she told Korke that she would inform the CBI and the court about it, to which she said that she could inform them.
Indrani claimed that Korke recalls the exact date of the meeting — June 24, 2021 — and said that she was ready to give her statement and show the exact location of the alleged meeting.
Indrani’s plea said that Korke could be summoned by the court under its powers as per Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code as her statement was essential now. Indrani claimed further that the trial against her cannot be pursued any longer. She said she is not inclined to press for the court to summon her before seeking information from CBI on the steps it had taken.
Multiple bail applications filed by Indrani have been rejected since 2015, including one that was recently denied by the Bombay High Court, stating that there is prima facie evidence of her involvement in the murder.
According to the CBI’s chargesheet, Indrani had forged Sheena’s signature after her death and claimed that she had moved to the US in 2012.
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