In A chargesheet filed in the Sheena Bora murder case on Tuesday, the CBI charged former INX Media chief Peter Mukerjea with murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code. The 56-page supplementary chargesheet, filed before the Esplanade court in Mumbai, also said that Mukerjea and his wife Indrani disapproved of Sheena’s relationship with Mukerjea’s son Rahul.
A copy of the chargesheet was handed over to Mukerjea, who was present during the hearing. “I will study the chargesheet in jail, but I stand by what I said at the time of arrest, that I have nothing to do with the case and was not aware of the conspiracy,” he told The Indian Express.
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The agency filed the chargesheet within the time-frame of three months’ prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to prevent Mukerjea from applying for bail. Mukerjea was arrested on November 19, 2015, the day the CBI filed its original chargesheet against the other accused in the case, including Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyam Rai. All the accused are currently in judicial custody.
According to the supplementary chargesheet, Mukerjea and Indrani had hatched a plan to kill Indrani’s daughter Sheena in 2009. But it was only after Sheena sent an email in March 2012 that the couple decided to execute the plan
The CBI has listed 47 witnesses, including the ‘witness numbered 32’ whose statement has been submitted in a sealed envelope. According to sources, this witness had been aware of the conspiracy since 2009, when the couple allegedly conspired to kill both Sheena and her brother Mekhail.
The chargesheet says that the reason why Mukerjea and Indrani decided to kill the two was that they were against Sheena’s relationship with Rahul. However, it says, Mukerjea agreed with Indrani’s plan to kill Mekhail too, owing to the “discomfort” Indrani had towards her two children from Kolkata-based businessman Siddharta Das. Sources claim the siblings were extorting the couple.
In pursuit of the plan, said the sources, Indrani returned to India in April 2012 while Mukerjea stayed in the UK and returned only on April 26, a day after the murder. On his return, they said, he and Indrani maintained the story of Sheena having settled down with a Nagpur-based boy in the US, whenever confronted by Rahul on Sheena’s whereabouts.
The CBI relied on call data records (CDRs) between Mukerjea and Indrani between April 24 and 25, 2012, when Sheena was murdered and her body was disposed of in Raigad. According to the sources, it is suspected that the calls were made to exchange ‘updates’ on the murder.
The agency has also studied the amount of money given by the couple to Vidhie — Indrani and Sanjeev Khanna’s daughter — as compared to what they gave to Sheena. The comparison has been made between 2005 and 2008.
Among the witnesses, the CBI has recorded the statement of JCP (Law and Order), Mumbai, Deven Bharti and Inspector Alaakhmoore, the then in charge of the Anti Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police.
The chargesheet narrated the estranged relationship between Indrani and Sheena. “In an email sent by Sheena to her close friends are cited on August 26, 2009, nearly three years before the murder, Sheena had written to her stating that Indrani had tried her level best that she loses her job by contacting her higher ups in Reliance but she managed to save her job,” it reads.
“In a second email sent on August, 28, 2009, Sheena used cuss words for her mother Indrani and described how she is not a good mother and had tortured her.”