Investigations into the Sheena Bora murder case picked up pace on Friday as police recovered the 24-year-old’s skeletal remains as well as her passport while Sanjeev Khanna, former husband of Indrani Mukerjea, confessed to his complicity in the crime.
Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria told reporters late on Friday about Khanna’s confession and the recovery of Sheena’s passport from Dehradun, nailing the lie that she had gone to the United States for higher education.
Sources close to the investigation said what Kolkata-based businessman Khanna testifies is crucial and could send the case on another track altogether. Khanna, who was remanded to police custody till August 31, had earlier said he was sleeping when Sheena was murdered and found her dead in the vehicle.
“This morning we have recovered the skeletal remains of Sheena Bora. We have also recovered her passport from Dehradun. This would negate the theory that Sheena went to the US,” Maria said.
Maria spoke to the media after Indrani her driver Shyam Rai, who has confessed to his involvement in the grisly murder, Khanna and Sheena's brother Mikhail Bora were jointly interrogated by Mumbai Police.
Sheena’s mother, INX media co-founder Indrani Mukerjea, is in police custody since Tuesday, accused of murdering her daughter on April 24, 2012, with the help of ex-husband Khanna and the driver.
For three years, Indrani had told friends and family that Sheena, who she said was her sister, had gone to the US to study. Rai’s arrest on an informer’s tip-off had exposed the murder.
Police chief Maria did not elaborate from where in Dehradun the passport was recovered, but that is where Sheena’s boyfriend Rahul Mukerjea lives. Rahul has already been questioned by Mumbai police. He is former Star TV CEO Peter Mukerjea’s son from his first marriage.
Rahul and Sheena were engaged to be married and neither Peter nor his second wife Indrani were in favour of this.
Soon after Sheena went missing, Rahul had asked Indrani how Sheena could travel to the US when he had her passport. It is still not clear why a missing person complaint was not registered at Khar or Worli police stations when Rahul had approached them with his claims in April 2012.
Sources say Mumbai Police are now scouring the e-mail and phone call records of Indrani and Khanna to unravel the missing links in the run-up to the murder. Investigators also suspect the involvement of two more people in the murder mystery after Rai’s version of the events was found to be riddled with holes.
“Our teams have gone to other parts of the country for investigation. Further investigation is going on,” said Maria.
Indrani has gone silent since Friday afternoon and is not cooperating with Mumbai police officers. Sources said she refused to answer questions after a city court allowed her lawyer to meet her in police custody.
But police managed to record the statement of Sheena’s brother Mikhail, who landed in Mumbai from Guwahati where he lives with his maternal grandparents. Police took him to JJ Hospital where his blood samples were taken to match with Sheena’s DNA.
In the evening, Peter Mukerjea visited Khar police station to record his statement. He has denied knowledge of Sheena’s disappearance or murder but has flip-flopped on whether he knew Sheena was his wife’s daughter, and not sister – as was rumoured earlier. But police sources said he had little knowledge of the murder being plotted or executed because he was in London with adopted daughter Vidhie on the day of the murder.
Police sources say investigators are focusing on the financial or property angle that might have led to the murder. Forensic and cyber experts have been engaged to solve the three-year-old case.
A skull and some bones were exhumed from the site where Sheena’s body was dumped in Raigad, 120km south of Mumbai. These were sent to JJ Hospital, where in 2012 Raigad police had sent body parts that had been recovered from the site.
On Friday afternoon, Indrani and former driver Rai were taken to various spots to reconstruct the sequence of events on the day Sheena was killed, sources said.