Indrani Mukherjea on Monday claimed that a drug had been administered to her in the Byculla women’s jail “without her knowledge with a malafide intention to terminate her life”. Indrani, an accused in the murder case of her daughter, Sheena Bora, was taken to J J Hospital on April 6 from the prison after she complained of dizziness. The hospital authorities later concluded that she had overdosed on a drug named Benzodiazepine.
Indrani claimed that she was “convinced” that the drug was mixed in the bowl of dal that was served to her in the jail on April 6, which she found “bitter in taste and unusually spicy”. She said, after consuming it, she felt extremely tired, drowsy and disoriented.
On Monday, Indrani brought a four-page handwritten note on the incident and told the court that she wanted to submit it before the court through her lawyers. She claimed that she had not given her statement to the police or the jail authorities conducting an inquiry as she feared that it would be “diluted”. She said she wanted to submit it before the court first. In the note, she claimed that she was fasting on April 6 and had not eaten anything in court or on the way from the court to the jail. An inquiry by Rajvardhan Sinha, special IG prison (south region), is yet to be completed with authorities investigating into whether Indrani had consumed anything during her court hearing or on the way to or from the court on April 6.
In court, Indrani stepped into the witness box and told the Special Judge, JC Jagdale, that on April 6, she had not met anyone, except for three of her lawyers. She claimed that when she returned to the jail, a body search was conducted and she returned to her cell where her food was kept covered. In her note, Indrani has said that around 5.15 pm or 5.30 pm, she ate the dal and began feeling drowsy. “My guard gave me a medicine from a small sheet of paper, which I consumed and then I have no recollection of anything on April 6 after that. After that, I woke up in JJ Hospital and my first proper memory is that of April 9,” her note says.
She also told the court that it was the second incident of being given drugs as she was administered the same drug in October 2015. Indrani claimed that the drug found in her urine sample on April 6 was “three times more” than the one in 2015. “I apprehend imminent danger to my life in prison and I may not be lucky to survive another attack on me the third time. I could have died. I cannot deal with this each time. I am constantly looking over my shoulder to what will happen to me,” she told the judge.
In her note, Indrani has claimed that a prison official had told her not to mention about the dal and that she had to ensure no “undue problems are caused to the prison staff”. She also said that she wanted to lodge a complaint and give her complete statement to an officer from Nagpada police station, who had previously approached her in the hospital and the jail to record her statement.
On the allegations raised against the prison by Indrani, Sinha told The Indian Express that an inquiry into the incident is still underway. “The inquiry is still on. We had approached her for her statement multiple times, which she has not given citing health issues and that she wants to consult her lawyers. If she has any such thing to share, she should have cooperated with the probe,” Sinha said. Indrani has also filed an application through her lawyers before the court seeking access to her medical reports.
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