A day after his arrest in the Sheena Bora murder case, INX Media co-founder Peter Mukerjea, husband of prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, was charged with murder and criminal conspiracy by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which said he had played an active role in the killing of his step-daughter. Mukerjea, who was produced before a court in Mumbai, was remanded in police custody till November 23.
The CBI arrested and charged Peter in the case, which has seen several twists and turns, after a conversation recorded by Rahul Mukerjea, his son from an earlier marriage, led the investigating agency to believe that the former media honcho had been withholding information.
The CBI told the court that Peter allegedly told Rahul that Sheena was doing fine in the US and that he had spoken to her. This revelation led the CBI to question Peter and place him under arrest on Thursday evening. The CBI is now looking to establish whether Peter lied to or misguided his son on Sheena’s whereabouts.
The agency, which was represented in the court by additional solicitor general Anil Singh, sought Peter’s custody for 14 days as they needed to interrogate him further. “Rahul and Sheena were to get married. With this marriage, we don’t know what right Sheena would have got in the property,” said Singh, adding that property dispute may be the motive behind the murder and that they need to probe further.
Peter, who was represented by advocate Niranjan Mundargi, claimed that he was being framed and he did not have any intention to misguide Rahul. “As Sheena was not his own daughter, he did not care where she was. The misguiding [as claimed by CBI] could be attributed to bridge a gap between Rahul and Indrani. As Rahul should not get angry with Indrani, Peter may have said things to pacify the situation. Just because Peter [who was abroad when Sheena was murdered] spoke to his wife, doesn’t make him a conspirator,” said the defence lawyer, adding that Peter would not have gained anything from Sheena’s murder.
Sheena, 24, the daughter of Indrani from a previous marriage, was allegedly strangled inside a car before her body was dumped in a forest in Raigad in 2012. The CBI’s charge sheet names Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyamvar Rai as accused. They were all arrested in August after Rai allegedly spilled the beans while being interrogated in a different case.