Former media tycoon Indrani Mukerjea, accused of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, is still not out of danger after overdosing on anti-epileptic drugs in a suspected suicide bid and will remain in hospital in Mumbai for three more days.
Indrani was in a semi-conscious state at the JJ Hospital in Byculla and her lawyer Gunjan Mangla was not allowed to meet her. Officials said Mangla met hospital dean TP Lahane, who apprised her about Indrani’s condition.
The meeting lasted about 30 minutes and Mangla left the hospital without speaking to the media.
Indrani, 43, was rushed from prison to hospital on Friday after reportedly overdosing on the drugs. There were reports that she was upset over her mother’s death on Thursday.
Doctors treating Indrani said on Saturday her condition is “improving” but she is still not out of danger.
“We cannot say she is out of danger yet. The first 72 hours are critical for such patients,” said TP Lahane, the dean of JJ Hospital. “Also, she has respiratory depression, where the lungs become weak and there is difficulty in breathing.”
Indrani was semi-conscious and would need three days to recover fully, Lahane said. “Her respiration is not normal until now, and until that happens, we won’t say she is out of danger,” he added.
Sources said Indrani had asked for water. Hospital authorities added she was not in a position to talk to anyone. “No one has spoken to her. She is still not alert enough to talk,” said Lahane.
A psychiatrist might visit Indrani when she is fit. “Such patients need counselling,” said a doctor.
Lahane said Indrani’s stomach wash was collected for forensic analysis to determine if she had consumed drugs. He ruled out opium poisoning and said results of more tests were awaited.
Another doctor at the hospital said blood and urine tests were carried out and a team of CBI officials was briefed on Indrani’s medical condition.
Records provided by the prison to the hospital showed Indrani had been taking anti-epilepsy medicines since September 11.
“She was taking those medicines for lack of sleep and weakness,” said Bipin Kumar Singh, the special inspector general of police (prisons).
Authorities suspect Indrani overdosed on anti-epileptic drugs in a bid to end her life. “These drugs were prescribed to her by doctors in the prison. She must have collected them and consumed it at once,” said Lahane.
Indrani was admitted to the critical care unit of in JJ Hospital after she fell unconscious on Friday afternoon.
Psychiatrists from JJ Hospital had been checking on Indrani in prison as she had been unable to sleep. On Friday morning, she felt dizzy and was attended to by the prison doctor. Officials later called in doctors from JJ Hospital, who recommended that she be admitted to the institute.
The CBI, which has taken over the investigation of the Sheena Bora murder, named Indrani as an accused this week. Investigators suspect Indrani, her driver Shyam Rai and former husband Sanjeev Khanna abducted Bora three years ago, strangled her in a car, burnt the body and dumped the remains in the thick forests of Raigad district of Maharashtra.
Indrani, the co-founder of INX Media, was arrested in August after an anonymous caller tipped off police about the murder. She has been in judicial custody since September 7.
The Maharashtra government handed over the case to the CBI following several over the Mumbai Police’s probe and the role of former police commissioner Rakesh Maria, who was suddenly promoted and transferred.
Indrani’s husband, former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, has been questioned several times by police.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an investigation on Friday into the alleged overdose, the latest twist in the multi-layered case that has drawn extensive media coverage.
“Anti-epileptic drugs are given to control seizures. They are also given for mood stability. These drugs, if taken in excess, can affect a person’s gait, lead to drowsiness and may even put the person in a comatose state,” said psychiatrist Y Matchiswalla, who has treated Indrani’s son Mikhail Bora.
“I don’t remember prescribing her any medications,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)