In the high-profile Sheena Bora case probe, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has questioned three key accused --- her mother Indrani Mukerjea, step-father Sanjeev Khanna and then family driver Shamwar Rai --- over their alleged roles in the murder of the 25-year-old victim in April 2012 in Mumbai.
The agency has also examined Indrani’s husband and former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea and his son Rahul, who was allegedly close to Sheena and had last seen her before her abduction by the three accused persons and could become a witness.
Confirming this, a CBI source said, “We have questioned the three accused --- Indrani, Shamwar and Sanjeev--- in the case who are lodged in judicial custody in Mumbai to determine their roles in the murder of Sheena Bora. We may question them again, and subject them to lie-detector and brain mapping tests later if required.” The source said, “Earlier, we also examined Indrani’s husband Peter Mukerjea and his son Rahul in the case probe to seek information and clarifications.”
Both Peter and Rahul were not named in the FIR. The duo’s statements could be relied upon by the agency for evidence and corroborations in the case, especially to reconstruct the chain of events leading to the crime and ascertain the accused persons’ motive, said the source.
The three accused (Indrani, Rai and Khanna), who were named in the CBI’s First Information Report(FIR) while taking over the Mumbai police’s probe, are currently lodged at two jails ---including one meant for female under-trials--- in Byculla. While the source did not divulge the revelations made by the accused on grounds of the sensitive nature of the probe, he said at least two them allegedly denied allegations against them and avoided key queries.
CBI suspects the alleged murder was planned at least a month before it happened, which was on April 24 of 2012, even as it investigates the crime’s exact motive and the role of known and unknown accused persons in all aspects of the conspiracy.
“We asked the accused about their roles in the core events before and after the crime: Sheena’s alleged abduction by the three of them during 6.30pm to 7.30pm on April 24, 2012 in Bandra and the subsequent murder by strangulation. We asked if any poison, sedative was used to reduce Sheena’s resistance before the murder,” said the source.
According to the source, two of the alleged killers had also conducted a reconnaissance the day before the murder in Raigad to select a deserted site for disposing off the body.
The disposal eventually happened by setting off a bag containing the body to fire with petrol. The trio was also asked about details connected to the alleged hiding of the body in a car’s boot the night after the murder for disposal the next day.The body was disposed at Mauje Gagode Khurd in Raigad district on April 25, 2012.
The source said, “While, the motive behind the murder will be ascertained and established, it will also be examined as to how exactly the three alleged killers, or any body else if any, may have benefited from the crime and why the date of April 24 chosen.” He said, “ We are determining what incentives, financial or otherwise, had been promised to the two accomplices by the key accused?”
A Mumbai court had last week allowed CBI to interrogate Bora’s mother, her stepfather and the driver, after which the agency prepared separate questionnaires for each one of them.
The agency is likely to soon recreate the crime scene, to test known facts about the case and also get clues on any missing link, and also examine potential witnesses including a Raigad petrol pump attendant who allegedly sold 10 litre petrol to an accused without knowing that the same would be used to destroy the body packed in a bag and a shopkeeper who sold the bag used to hide the body.
CBI will also seek closed-circuit television footages from a Worli-based hotel where part of the conspiracy was alleged hatched. “On April 23, the third accused was informed and asked to come over to Mumbai from Kolkata the next day via a flight. For the third person’s stay in Mumbai, a room at the Worli-based hotel was booked,” said the source.