A special court on Tuesday charged former media tycoons Indrani and Peter Mukerjea and her first husband Sanjeev Khanna with murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, setting the stage for start of trial in a sensational case that has gripped the nation.
The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court also charged the three of conspiring, kidnapping, destroying evidence and giving false information.
The three had allegedly killed 24-year-old Sheena, on April 23, 2012 and burnt and disposed of her body in a forest in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, around 110 km from Mumbai.
The complex web of lies and deceit came to light after police arrested Shyamvar Rai, the driver of INX Media co-founder Indrani on August 21, 2015, for illegal possession of a weapon. Rai later volunteered to be a prosecution witness and was turned an approver.
The court also charged Indrani, 45, with using forged documents but dropped charges of cheating, forgery for cheating and causing hurt with poison against the accused.
None of the accused has got bail since their separate arrests in 2015.
Sheena was Indrani’s daughter from her first marriage. She also has a son Mikhail, who also accuse Indrani of trying to poison him during a visit to Mumbai.
Since her marriage with Peter, Indrani had introduced Sheena as her sister to everyone.
Both Indrani and Peter were said to be against Sheena’s affair with Rahul, Peter’s son from an earlier marriage, and is believed to be the motive for the murder.
Indrani, daughter of a well-known businessman in Guwahati, was married twice earlier before she tied the knot with Peter in 2002. Her earlier husbands include Khanna and Siddharth Das from Tripura. Das is said to be Sheena’s biological father.
During the hearing, Peter’s lawyer Mihir Gheewala challenged the charges invoked by CBI.
“There is no evidence or material to show Peter’s involvement for the charges of attempt to murder, cheating and forgery,” Gheewala told the CBI judge.
Gheewala said, “The agency has tried to colour the case by adding several emails and messages. The agency by referring to some paragraphs and lines tried to interpret and draw an inference for the involvement of Peter.”
While Khanna’s lawyer Niranjan Mundargi too contested some of the charges, he did not give any arguments “at this stage”.
Special CBI judge HS Mahajan said the documents submitted by the CBI – including email records, SMS records, call details and statement of witnesses – were enough to frame charges against the accused.
Special CBI judge HS Mahajan reserved his order on the charges for January 17.
The case had seen many twists including the transfer of Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria. On September 18, 2015, the case was handed over to the central agency.