Indrani Mukerjea’s alleged silence and refusal to shed light in the murder of daughter Sheena Bora have prompted police to turn to her accomplices, former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyam Rai, to crack the gripping crime.
Kolkata-based Khanna, the father of Indrani’s younger daughter Vidhie, has allegedly confessed to police his role in the murder. Rai was singing too, after he was arrested on August 21 for keeping an unlicenced firearm.
Going by a quick recap of what police had said so far, INX co-founder Indrani, current wife of former media baron Peter Mukerjea, strangled Sheena in a hired car in a lane off Linking Road in Mumbai with help from Khanna and the driver. The body was later burned and buried in a forest in Raigad on April 24, 2012.
Indrani all along maintained that 24-year-old Sheena, who she had initially introduced as sister but later turned out to be her firstborn from a childhood relationship with a person named Siddhartha Das, was in the US for higher studies.
Her bluff was called when Mumbai Police received a call and an email about the murder a few months ago. They got hold of driver Rai, who was dismissed from service by then, and he took officers to the secret burial site in Raigad where some of Sheena’s skeletal remains were found.
Rai had given away minutest details but a lot of dots in the trail remained to be filled to reach the big picture, the motive.
His statement will be recorded soon before a magistrate, making every word he says presentable in court as evidence.
Investigators were thus far almost certain Indrani was the main conspirator but they have to rely heavily on circumstantial evidence, such as Rai showing them the spot where the body was burned and buried, because the trail had turned cold and craggy in three years.
To make the case foolproof, police were poring over bank details, financial transactions and Skype accounts used by Indrani and Khanna, following reports that they hatched the plot through the popular video chat forum. Forensic reports of Sheena’s bones and hair as well as DNA analysis will add to the police inventory of evidence.
The case was some distance away from court but police were trying to plug all holes before a judge heard it.
Khanna has allegedly clammed up too after his initial confession but his travel details, phone location and check-in information at Hilltop Hotel in Worli during the time of the murder have been recovered.
Statements of Peter Mukerjea’s son from his previous wife, Rahul, who was in a relationship with Sheena that Indrani allegedly disapproved of, and Mikhail Bora, the victim’s Guwahati-based brother, will also give weight to the case.
Rahul, who shared an apartment with Sheena, told police he had dropped her at a spot near National College in Bandra on the day she was murdered.
Mikhail alleged that his mother tried to drug him with a spiked drink, possibly to kill him along with Sheena. His allegation has been added to the retinue of charges against Indrani.
The former media honcho has been slapped with another charge: attempt to mislead police by giving false information that Sheena was in the US.