Arguing for bail in person, Indrani Mukerjea, a prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, on Tuesday informed the special court that the skeleton found in Pen, Raigad district in 2012, and one exhumed in 2015 were not the same.
Mukerjea, whose bail application on medical grounds has been rejected four times since her arrest in 2015, has filed the plea on merits for the first time.
“The CBI claims that a month after the alleged murder (of Bora) on April 24, 2012, a skeleton was found in Pen, Raigad district. The skeleton was again exhumed on August 28, 2015, after my arrest. These are two different skeletons, as has been seen from the evidence of forensic experts,” Mukerjea told the court.
She claimed that while the expert, who conducted the postmortem on the skeleton in 2012 said there was no grey matter found inside the skull and that it was cut open by him for examination, the skeleton exhumed in 2015 had no visible cuts on its skull. “When the skull was shown in court, I came forward to see it. Everyone thought it was awkward, but that was my reason. All experts have said that the skull exhumed in 2015 is intact, without any cuts. How the CBI is connecting these two then is a big mystery,” Mukerjea said.
The CBI has alleged that Mukerjea killed her 25-year-old daughter, in conspiracy with her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and then husband Peter Mukerjea on April 24, 2012, by administering Bora a sedative and then strangulating her in a car. The next day, the CBI has claimed, Mukerjea along with Khanna and her former driver, Shyamvar Rai took the body to Pen and burnt it. Rai has become an approver in the case.
While a skeleton was found in May 2012 by a police patil, who was out picking mangoes, its identity could not be established at the time. In 2015, Rai was arrested for possessing an illegal firearm. During interrogation in the case, he allegedly told police about the 2012 murder.
On Tuesday, Mukerjea also claimed that forensic experts have said that there were no burn injuries to the skeleton found in 2015, while the CBI has claimed that Bora’s body was burnt. Mukerjea also said there were discrepancies in the evidence, including the car allegedly used to abduct and kill Bora, as well as the cause of death arrived at from the skeletal remains. Mukerjea will continue to make submissions for her bail plea Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Dr Sudhir Kumar Gupta, a forensic expert from AIIMS, New Delhi, who had led the medical board while conducting the postmortem of the skeletal remains in 2015, told the court that his opinion in the final report that strangulation cannot be ruled out as the cause of death was “tentative”. Dr Gupta also agreed to the suggestion put by Mukerjea’s lawyer, Sudeep Pasbola, that there was a word of caution in the report, which said that the investigating agency, CBI, needs to carry out a probe to find out if the findings in the report are corroborated.
“It is correct to say that my opinion was based on facts placed before me by the CBI, along with the expertise, experience and literature on the possible causes of death,” Gupta said. He also agreed that he had eliminated the cause of death due to gunshot injury as there was no bleeding on the bones that were sent to him.
Another forensic expert had deposed that he had washed the bones with water. Gupta agreed that this may or may not have affected the possibility of seeing any bleeding on the bones. “I had not undertaken any chemical tests to check if there was bleeding,” Gupta said. He also agreed with the suggestion by Mukerjea’s lawyer that the facial superimposition technique relied on by the CBI to conclude that the skull matched the face of Bora, was an “imperfect science”.
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