Mumbai | Indrani Mukerjea, wife of former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, today faced fresh charges of poisoning and attempting to murder her son Mikhail on the day her daughter Sheena was killed more than three years ago as police suspect involvement of people outside the state in the sensational crime.
Seeking further custody of the three key accused–Indrani, former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyam Rai–in the Sheena murder case, police told a metropolitan court they would like to establish a financial trail in the crime. Meanwhile, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S M Chandgade extended their police custody till September 5. Mikhail, Indrani’s son with her first husband Sidharth Das, had earlier told the police that she had thrice attempted to kill him and also spiked his drink the day Sheena disappeared in April 2012 following which police included the additional two charges in the FIR filed in the case, police sources said.
Mikhail, who lives in Guwahati, and Sheena were Indrani’s children with Das. There were emotional scenes in the court when Indrani hugged Vidhie, her daughter with Khanna, in the court and was seen crying. Indrani felt uneasy during the proceedings after which she was given water and allowed to sit. Their faces covered in black veil, all the three accused were produced before the magisterial court amid tight security shortly before 3 pm.
Their veils were briefly lifted when the Magistrate asked them whether they had any complaint (against the police), to which they replied in the negative. After their police remand was extended, they were taken to the Khar police station where Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, who himself is keenly supervising the probe, also arrived for interrogating them. What transpired during the interrogation was not immediately known.
Earlier, Chandgade rejected the contention of defence lawyers Gunjan Mangla and Hrishikesh Mundergi, appearing for Indrani and Khanna, that as the two were in police custody for sufficient time the remand should not be extended. According to the investigators, during their interrogation on Saturday Indrani accused Khanna of committing the murder and dragging her into the crime, while the latter claimed he only assisted her as she had promised to help him financially.
The prosecution said Khanna and Indrani used to communicate online even after their divorce and that it was necesary to trace Sheena’s mobile phone and clothes for taking the probe forward.
The police also filed an application contending that the accused should not be allowed to have home food as it could be laced with poison, but it was rejected. Indrani’s lawyer Gunjan Mangala argued that there was no need for further police custody as police had interrogated her for almost 90 hours. Police were not investigating but trying to fabricate the case, she alleged.
Mangala also claimed that she was allowed to meet Indrani at the police station but wasn’t allowed to speak in private.
Khanna’s lawyer Hrishikesh Mundergi argued that police were only awaiting the reports of the forensic tests now, so there was no need for further police custody. Interestingly, no lawer represented the driver Shyam Rai.
According to Mikhail’s allegations, hours before Sheena was taken out by Indrani and Khanna on April 24, 2012 on what turned out to be the last drive of her life, Indrani had drugged him. He managed to escape from the spot and averted becoming the second murder victim, he said.
The sensational case had yesterday taken a fresh turn when police seized a suitcase from the residential premises of Indrani and Peter Mukerjea in Mumbai’s Worli area. The suitcase was to be allegedly used to stuff Mikhail’s body.
According to the investigators, during a sustained interrogation on Saturday, Indrani and Sanjeev blamed each other for the crime. Indrani accused Khanna of committing the murder and dragging her into the crime, while he said he only assisted Indrani as she had promised to help him financially.
A village official in Raigad district, who helped the Mumbai police locate the spot where Sheena Bora was allegedly buried, yesterday said when he first spotted the remains in 2012, they were just skeleton.
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.
The blood and hair samples of Indrani and Mikhail Bora have also been collected and sent to the Kalina-based Forensic Science Laboratory and the report is expected in the next couple of days.
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