Sharda Rai, wife of Indrani Mukerjea’s former driver Shyam Rai, who has been arrested in the Sheena Bora case, said she last saw him 10 days ago. “Ten days ago, he told me that he was going to New Delhi for work. That’s the last time I saw him,” she said.
Sharda, 26, came to know about his arrest through media reports. Since then, she and her children — an eight-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy — have remained in their rented room in a slum in Santacruz. “She (Mukerjea) is rich and I know all poor people are framed in crimes,” she said.
In their remand plea to the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate Court, the police said a team raided “accused number one Shyam Rai’s house” a day after his arrest and seized a photograph of Sheena Bora.
But Sharda claimed there was no police raid. “The police should have informed me by now if they have arrested him. Nobody from the police station has come to my house so far,” she said.
Dismissing the police claims about Rai’s involvement in the murder, Sharda said: “If he really committed a murder and disposed of the body, he would have been paid for it. If he had received money, would we have been living in this slum? Would we not have purchased a flat?” she asked.
Claiming that Rai was afraid of the dark, Sharda said he could not have walked into Raigad’s forests to get rid of the evidence.
“Since Wednesday, the landlady has been banging on my door every few hours, saying ‘mere room mein koi lafda nahi mangta hai (I don’t want any trouble in my room’,” said Sharda.
“Yesterday, I received a phone call from my aunt in the village. She told me not to come home again. I haven’t eaten since yesterday… Sometimes, I think I should commit suicide with my children,” she said.
Sharda said Rai was fired by Mukerjea about six months ago. “My husband told me that Indrani was going to live outside the country and did not require the services of a driver,” she said. After losing his job, Rai began driving an autorickshaw. Sharda said his monthly income had come down from Rs 12,000 to Rs 10,000. “It wasn’t much, but I ran the household well with that money,” she said.
“There has to be trust between a husband and wife in a marriage. He’s a simple and reserved man who never got into any trouble. So I had no reason to ever ask him his job details,” she said.
Sharda said she was raised by her maternal uncle and aunt in a village in Madhya Pradesh. She married Rai and moved to Santacruz’s Vakola locality in 2010. The room is bare, barring a steel cupboard in one corner and a stove and gas cylinder in the other.