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Cops probe money trail to find motive behind Sheena's murder

india Updated: Jan 16, 2017 18:20 IST
Sheena Bora

Indrani Mukerjea being brought to Khar police station in Mumbai on Saturday. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Investigators chasing the elusive motive behind the murder of Sheena Bora were concentrating on financial deals between Indrani Mukerjea, her mother and prime accused, and two accomplices in order to untangle the crime that has riveted the nation.

Officials have struggled to put together the pieces in the complex and high-profile murder ever since INX media co-founder Indrani was arrested on August 25 in connection with Sheena’s death, exactly three years after the 24-year-old was strangled and her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad.

A Mumbai Police officer said financial transactions between the three accused — the former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea’s wife, her Kolkata-based former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyam Rai — could lead to the motive behind the gruesome murder.

Police were gathering evidence such as e-tickets booked for Khanna to fly to Mumbai on April 24, 2012, and back to Kolkata the next day as well as documents to establish Indrani booked a room for him at Hilltop Hotel in Worli, where he is said to have stayed.

“The physical evidence, such as e-tickets and transactions made at Hilltop Hotel, will make the case foolproof. These will also stand legal scrutiny,” an officer said.

Police have focussed on the time-consuming and painstaking process of collecting finer details of Indrani’s financial exchanges with Khanna and Rai, her driver.

“Bank details and any business ventures started by the accused after Sheena’s murder are being probed,” Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria said.

Khanna’s business ventures after April 2012 are also under scrutiny as it has been suspected that his alleged complicity in the crime brought him a huge payout.

He primarily ran a cable business in Kolkata but launched a hip restaurant, 1658 Bar and Kitchen, spread over 1,500 square feet in the upscale Chowringhee area of the eastern metropolis in the months following Sheena’s disappearance.

Police said there was no clarity on how he raised his share in the restaurant business, although it was a joint venture with two other people.

“Indrani bought a flat for Khanna in Howrah around the same time. He was involved in restoring a Rajbari or house of royalty to a heritage resort at Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas district, bordering Kolkata city. Were all these part of the reward for the crime? An inquiry is on,” an officer said.

Investigators will also look at the alleged swindling of Rs 150 crore from 9x, the media company run by Indrani, following suspicion that Khanna was among the beneficiaries.

Police took Khanna and driver Rai on Sunday to Raigad district to recreate the crime scene.

Read:Cops take accused to Raigad to recreate crime scene

Sheena murder probe to focus on passport, call records, money trail

Full coverage:Sheena Bora murder mystery