Hiding his face behind a handkerchief, Siddartha Das, the former “live-in partner” of Indrani Mukherjea, Tuesday said he was “deserted probably because she was looking for a bigger house, more money and a better lifestyle”.
Das claimed Indrani and he were in a live-in relationship from 1986 to 1989 and had two children — Sheena Bora, born on February 11, 1987, and Mekhail Bora, born on September 9, 1988. “I used to live with her at their place. Her father had helped me start a business, which didn’t take off,” he said.
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Das said Indrani, prime accused in the Sheena murder case, had high aspirations. “She was greedy and might have committed the murder following a lust for wealth,” he claimed.
“I am a simple man with a small family and a low-salaried job. I live in a modest, rented flat. If my face is shown on TV, I might get sacked tomorrow,” said Das.
At his modest, rented flat in Manikpur area of Durganagar, his wife Babli Das and their son kept themselves locked inside to avoid reporters who had gathered there.
The area’s local councillor Rinku Dey arrived at the spot and announced that “Babli is not in the best of health”.
Later, during a brief interaction, Babli said she had no idea her husband had another family. “We have been married for 17 years. Even when they showed the incident on TV, I didn’t know the Siddartha Das they were referring to was my husband. It was only when I heard my mother-in-law mention that her son was alive and in Kolkata that I connected the dots. Maybe Siddartha had realised it was about him and his past, but he never made me feel it,” she said.
She added, “He has offered to cooperate in the investigation. He has kept me very happy and I will never leave him. What he did in the past doesn’t matter to me at all.”
At around 1.45 pm, a doctor came to check Babli and said her blood pressure was “abnormally high”.
At the press conference, Das tried to explain why he did not try to get custody of his children or enquire about them. “The children were being brought up by their grandparents. I tried to get custody once, but I was told that since I didn’t have any steady income or job, I would not be able to raise them. That’s why I let them grow up with their grandparents,” Das said.
He said he last spoke to Sheena briefly when she was in Class X. “They used to interact with me in Assamese. I wanted to talk to Mekhail, who was there at that time, but he refused to talk to me,” he claimed.
He said he had no idea of Sheena’s death till he heard about it in the news. Asked why he did not approach the police then, he said, “On the first day, I wanted to because they were showing Sheena as Indrani’s sister. But by the evening, I saw that she had confessed that Sheena was her daughter. The police were well on their track and were investigating smoothly, so I decided not to intervene. But when my name came up yesterday and it was shown that I was absconding and that I could have escaped to Bangladesh — that was the time I decided I would speak up.”
“If Indrani killed Sheena, I want her to be hanged. I will cooperate with the police in every way possible and I am ready to undergo a DNA test if need be,” he added.
Sources said Das is likely to be contacted by the Mumbai Police soon.