In a boost to the Sheena Bora murder investigation, the police found her photograph while searching the residence of Peter and Indrani Mukerjea’s former driver Shyam Manav Manohar Rai, 43.
Police sources said it was a strong piece of evidence that will strengthen their case.
Rai, in his statement to Mumbai police, gave a detailed version of the murky plot to murder Sheena Bora on April 24, 2012. The Mumbai police could now recommend that Rai be made an approver in the case before the trial court, said police officers close to the investigation.
Rai was initially arrested by the Khar police after a tip-off from an informer that he was in possession of a 7.65mm pistol. Rai confessed to the murder during interrogation. The police then went on to arrest Indrani on Tuesday.
Rai’s statement, excerpts of which Hindustan Times has accessed, alleges the murder was plotted and planned by Indrani, who had taken Rai along to conduct a reconnaissance near Gagode village in Pen Tehsil of Raigad district on April 23, 2012, a day before Sheena was murdered. The murder was executed by Sanjeev Khanna, Rai’s statement said.
The driver told the police Indrani had called her former husband Sanjeev Khanna on the night of April 23, and had a long conversation with him. Indrani then booked a room at Hotel Hilltop in Worli, said police officers. Khanna arrived in Mumbai the next day and stayed at the hotel, Rai told the police.
Around 7pm, Indrani and Sanjeev went to Bandra, and stopped their car near Jockey Exclusive shop — near National College on Linking Road. They waited for a while before Sheena arrived, Rai told police officers.
Rai states Sheena was strangulated by Khanna, and then with the help of Indrani, the body was put in a bag. The bag was then kept in the boot of the car. However, when and where Sheena was strangulated still remains unclear. Was it in the car? If so, when? Mumbai’s roads are too crowded for no one to have noticed. Or did they wait till they reached Gagode?
Rai states he then drove the vehicle to a secluded forest near Gagode village, where the bag containing the body was burnt using petrol. It was around 4am on April 25, 2012 that the body destroyed, the statement said. The trio left the place only after Indrani and Khanna were assured the bag was completely charred and there were no remains, Rai told the police.