INX Media founder Indrani Mukerjea, arrested for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, had once said during a meeting that she wanted to be so powerful that people feared her, senior journalist Vir Sanghvi said on Friday.
Sanghvi, who served as CEO and editor-in-chief of the News X channel that was part of INX Media, said Indrani made the remarks when she began sitting in on editorial meetings.
During one such meeting, Indrani referred to a gathering organised by media baron Rupert Murdoch in the US that she and her husband, former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, had attended. Indrani said Bill Clinton, who was part of the gathering, said the only person he feared when he was the US President was Murdoch.
“She then said, ‘I want people to fear me.’ She had delusions of grandeur and was obsessed with being a media baron,” Sanghvi told India Today news channel.
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Sanghvi said Indrani had told him and others several times that she came from a prosperous Assamese family of Guwahati. She said that when she was quite young, her father had walked out of the house and was never seen again.
Indrani further said her mother had remarried but she didn’t get along with her step-father, who allegedly molested her. She then moved to Kolkata, where she married Sanjeev Khanna, with whom she had a daughter named Vidhie, Sanghvi said.
After the marriage ended, she moved to Mumbai and introduced Sheena to everyone as her “step-sister”, Sanghvi said. Sanghvi said he thought Indrani had a “tenuous grip on reality”.
Sanghvi acknowledged he had parted ways with the Mukerjeas on “bitter terms” and he had not spoken about the couple so far because he could not be neutral about them.
Indrani had helped put together the funding for launching INX Media because she felt Peter, whom she married in 2002, was being humiliated at Star, Sanghvi said. He added that the couple had assured him that he would be left alone to run the News X channel when they approached him about the job.
“Everything was all systems go, but then the problems began,” he said. Indrani was made the chairperson because Peter held a British passport and she signed all the cheques, he said.
“People working with me kept saying they’re inflating figures and I got worried,” Sanghvi alleged, referring to purchases of equipment for News X.
Peter also wanted to gain influence through the news channel but never showed much enthusiasm about its launch, he claimed.