Mumbai | The sensational Sheena Bora murder case took another turn today when police seized a suitcase that was purportedly meant for packing the body of her brother, whom Indrani Mukherjea had allegedly planned to kill, even as key accused Sanjeev Khanna and the driver were taken to spot to re-create the crime scene.
Officials were tightlipped about the progress in the probe amidst reports that Indrani and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna had been making contradictory claims about who killed her daughter Sheena three years ago. The new twist in the probe came when Sheena’s brother Mikhail claimed that their mother Indrani had planned to kill him also on April 23, 2012, when she had given him a spiked drink.
The same day Sheena was allegedly killed by Indrani and Khanna in a car with the help of the driver Shyam Rai. The three had carried the body and disposed it in Pen tehsil in Raigad district the next day. The seizure of the suitcase from residential premises of Indrani and Peter Mukerjea in Mumbai’s Worli area apparently lends credence to Mikail’s claim about his mother’s plan to kill him and pack his body parts but there was no police confirmation of this theory.
Police today brought Sanjeev Khanna to Khar police station and later took him to forest in Pen tehsil, along with Rai. Indrani, Khanna and Rai will be produced before a local court tomorrow where the police are likely to seek extension of their police custody.
During sustained interrogation here yesterday, Indrani and Sanjeev had blamed each other for the crime. Indrani accused Khanna of committing the murder and dragging her into the crime. However, he said he only assisted Indrani as she had promised to help him financially. Mikhail was also questioned at a hotel in Bandra yesterday.
Mikhail had said that just hours before Indrani and Sanjeev met Sheena on April 24, 2012 and took her for what would be the last drive of her life, Indrani allegedly drugged him but he managed to escape from the spot and averted becoming the second murder victim. There were reports that Indrani had sought help of a psychiatrist to get Mikhail labelled as a mental patient, but there was no independent confirmation from police so far.
Meanwhile, a village official in Raigad district, who helped the team of Mumbai police locate the spot where Sheena Bora was allegedly buried, today said when he first spotted the body in 2012 it was just a skeleton with no flesh. It was all skeleton. There was no flesh. The local government doctor took it for postmortem, after which it was buried, Police Patil Ganesh Dhene of Hetevne village said. Asked how he came across the skeletal remains, Dhene said, I had gone to collect mangoes. The body was not in a suitcase.
The surrounding area was burnt. Indrani, her driver Shyam Rai and Khanna were interrogated at Khar police station yesterday. During the course of the grilling, they blamed each other for the crime, a police official said. The blood and hair samples of Indrani and Mikhail Bora have also been collected and sent to the Kalina-based Forensic Science Laboratory. The report is expected in the next couple of days.
The alleged car in which Sheena Bora was killed was yesterday traced, even as questions cropped up about a cover-up by police in not registering a case of murder or accidental death three years ago when a partially-burnt body, believed to be of her, was found.
As the investigation focussed on forensic examination of the skeletal remains found in Pen tehsil of Raigad, the police also admitted that no due procedure was followed when the body was first found on May 23, 2012. Neither a crime, nor a report of accidental death was registered when Raigad Police sent recovered skeletal remains to J J Hospital (in Mumbai) in 2012, Raigad’s current Superintendent of Police Suvez Haque told reporters in Alibaug, the district headquarters.
Though Sheena, daughter of high-profile media professional Indrani Mukerjea, was murdered in 2012 and the body disposed of in Raigad district, the crime came to light only recently. J J Hospital had on Friday handed over to Khar Police a few bones it had received from Raigad Police in 2012. According to Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, who is personally involved in the grilling of the accused, Khanna had confessed to his complicity in the murder.
On Friday, the police also briefly questioned Indrani’s husband and former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea. Police had earlier questioned Rahul Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea’s son from another marriage, who allegedly had a relationship with Sheena which Indrani disapproved of.
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