A special court Wednesday rejected the interim bail application of Indrani Mukerjea, who is facing trial for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora.
Lodged in Byculla jail since 2015, Mukerjea had sought bail citing the coronavirus outbreak and her vulnerability to the disease due to her medical history. Mukerjea had said she falls in the category of prisoners who, as per the recommendation of a state-appointed high-powered committee, can be released to decongest jails during the pandemic.
The CBI, however, opposed her application, stating that she is the main accused in the case and the trial, though stalled due to the lockdown, is in progress with some material witnesses still to be examined.
So far, 67 witnesses have deposed in the case. The CBI had also submitted to the court that Mukerjea is a British national and may abscond if released.
“As per information, none of the positive patients are showing any sign of severity of Covid-19. It is material to note that there is no case of death due to Covid-19 in Byculla jail….A judicial note can be taken that day to day there is an increase in cases in Mumbai. The said number is continuously increasing at an alarming rate by each passing day. It is also required to be noted that medical officers are available at Byculla jail,” special judge J C Jagdale said while rejecting the plea.
The judge also said that prison authorities are sanitising the jail premises regularly and preventive medicine and vitamins are being provided to all inmates.
To Mukerjea’s contention that she has a history of illnesses, including neurological complications, the CBI said she has no major ailments that can put her at risk of Covid-19.
Last month, the court had rejected the interim bail application of Mukerjea’s co-accused and former husband, Sanjeev Khanna, who is lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail. Khanna had tested negative for Covid-19 when there was an outbreak in the jail. The court, while rejecting his plea, had said the recovery rate of patients at Arthur Road jail was better than other parts of the city.
Peter Mukerjea, another co-accused and former husband of Mukerjea, was released on bail in March after a Bombay High Court order. Meanwhile, accused-turned-approver Shyamvar Rai, Mukerjea’s former driver, has also sought bail. A decision on his plea is likely to be taken next week by the court.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines