Updated: May 18, 2022 1:53:45 pm
The Supreme Court’s order Wednesday granting bail to former media executive Indrani Mukerjea comes nearly seven years after she was arrested by the Mumbai police on August 25, 2015. Indrani was arrested four days after her former driver, Shyamvar Rai, was apprehended by the police with an illegal weapon. It was claimed that Rai during his interrogation in the weapon case, spoke about his involvement in a murder in 2012.
Rai told the police that he was present and had participated in the murder of his former employer’s daughter, Sheena Bora, on April 24, 2012. Based on this, the police arrested Rai, Indrani Mukerjea and her former husband, Sanjeev Khanna, in August 2015. The three have been behind bars since.
The police claimed that Sheena Bora, Indrani’s daughter from a previous relationship, was killed on April 24, 2012, and her body was buried the next day in a village in the Raigad district. It was claimed that the body was found in a decomposed state a month later but remained unidentified till Rai’s alleged disclosure in 2015.
The case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September 2015 from the Mumbai police. In December 2015, the CBI made its first and only arrest in the case by booking Peter Mukerjea, the then-husband of Indrani Mukerjea, for allegedly being part of the conspiracy of the murder. Among the reasons for the murder as claimed by the CBI was that the couple was unhappy with Sheena Bora’s relationship with Rahul, Peter Mukerjea’s son from his previous marriage.
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In 2016, Rai sought to become a prosecution witness claiming that he had remorse for what he had done and wanted to make full disclosure about the alleged murder of Sheena Bora. His plea was accepted. The trial began in the case in 2017. Rai is among the witnesses who have deposed in the case. Bail applications filed by the accused on merits and medical grounds were rejected multiple times. In 2020, Peter Mukerjea was granted bail by the Bombay High Court.
The accused have denied their involvement in the case. Indrani Mukerjea in her bail pleas has contended that there are major discrepancies in the CBI’s evidence including in the deposition of Rai and forensic experts on the skeletons found in 2012 and the one exhumed in 2015 claiming to be that of Sheena Bora’s.
The trial has so far seen the deposition of 67 witnesses, including Rai, forensic experts and others. The trial was stalled during the Covid-19 pandemic and the judge conducting the trial was transferred in 2021 during annual general transfers, again leading to a halt to the trial. A new judge was appointed in the case last month. The trial is expected to resume soon.
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