Indrani Mukerjea remains uncooperative and a hard nut to crack, the prosecution on Saturday told a Mumbai court which extended the custody of the prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case till September 7.
Seeking extension of custody, special public prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade said there was still a large area to cover and that "the accused (Indrani) remained uncooperative".
"Scope of probe is large. Accused is a hard nut to crack. They have used modern tools like email and Internet to plan the murder. Progress shown is already on record. We have not wasted a single day. They impersonated the victim by creating false email. She (Indrani) created a bogus email id. Custody is short considering the vastness of investigation," Bagade said.
He said investigations were underway to ascertain who else helped Indrani and police needed reasonable time for its probe.
Bagade told the court that the accused may have used as many as 14 credit cards in the days preceding and following the murder, and that the police are piecing together the evidence.
He said the accused had tried to manipulate records and had not disclosed certain emails they had sent. He said the police have recovered three e-mails – dated March 8, 2012, May 4 2012 and August 7, 2012 – from Indrani’s account, which are crucial pieces of evidence.
Rejecting the prosecution's contentions, the defence said Indrani is not a hardened criminal and accused the police of "conducting a media trial and prejudicing the proceedings".
"There is no medical evidence. Two days of police custody is a humiliation of my client. Accounts cannot be recovered from my client. She is in custody. They have to recover it from bankers," Indrani’s lawyer Gunjan Mangla said.
Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai were arrested on the charge of murdering Sheena and disposing of the body in a Raigad forest in April 2012.
The remand application of police stated that they were planning to kill Sheena's brother Mikhail started from Kolkata. Mikhail has alleged that Indrani had tried to kill him too.
Police had also interrogated Indrani's husband and media baron Peter Mukerjea for three days, though he is not an accused in the case.
Others who were questioned in connection with the case included Mikhail, Peter's son Rahul Mukerjea and Vidhie, daughter of Indrani and Sanjeev Khanna.
Police have also questioned Siddharth Das, biological father of Sheena and Mikhail.
Sheena was engaged to Rahul, Peter Mukerjea's son from an earlier marriage, when she was allegedly murdered on April 24, 2012.
The 24-year-old was allegedly strangled in a car, then her body was burnt and dumped at a forest in Raigad, about 84 km from Mumbai.