Doubts remain about how INX Media co-founder Indrani Mukerjea, accused of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora in April 2012, managed to overdose on the anti-depressant or anti-epilepsy pills within her barrack at Byculla prison. Mukerjea is undergoing treatment at JJ Hospital, after being rushed to the health facility on Friday following a drug overdose.
Who was supposed to administer the medicine daily and did Mukerjea consume the pills in the presence of jail officials — these are some of the questions authorities are investigating. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an IPS officer of the rank of inspector general to investigate the incident.
Jail authorities said Mukerjea has been on anti-epileptic pills since September 12 after she started suffering bouts of seizure. Prison officials, who were tasked to monitor her medication, have been asked to explain how Mukerjea got hold of tablets more than her dosage.
On Friday, at 5am, Mukerjea collapsed while reading the Bhagavad Gita. “She was examnied by a doctor at 6am. Two doctors from JJ hospital also examined her. When her condition worsened, she was shifted to JJ hospital at 1:30pm,” said Bipin Kumar Singh, inspector general, Maharashtra prisons, south division.
But it is still not clear why the doctors waited for more than seven hours before admitting her to the hospital. At 11:30am, the jail superintendent got a call from Mukerjea ’s lawyer informing them of Durga Rani Bora’s (Mukerjea’s mother) funeral in Guwahati. She died on October 1.
Singh, who is also heading the inquiry, said the report will be submitted within two to three days. “We will look into the medical procedure and find out if it was followed by the prison staff and doctors,” said Singh.
Statements of the prison staff, doctors, nursing orderly and her barrack inmates will be taken. If it is found she had accumulated the tablets, then the police will also look into how that happened.
Singh said regular searches and surprise checks are conducted in the barracks.
According to Singh, Mukerjea began taking medicines on September 12 and continued taking them until September 26.
“She was suffering from insomnia, depression and anxiety since her first day in the jail. Doctors prescribed Mirzapin and Pizolon. Dr Sarika Dikshikar and Dr Waqar Shaikh, a visiting psychiatrist from JJ hospital, were attending to her,” he said. Her husband, Peter Mukerjea, has not visited her in jail. The only person who met her was her lawyer, Gunjan Mangla. Prison sources said Mukerjea also wrote three letters in prison.
Singh said the statements of the 40 to 50 inmates in Mukerjea’s barrack have been taken. “During a preliminary inquiry, other inmates from her barrack said she was normal the night before,” he said.
Mukerjea was arrested on August 25 for her alleged role in the murder of Sheena Bora, her daughter from a previous marriage. The 24-year-old Sheena was killed in April 2012, allegedly by Mukerjea and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna with the help of her driver Shyam Rai.
Her body was burnt and dumped at a forest in Raigad, about 84km from Mumbai. Her purported remains were found a month later and buried by the police, which treated the body as unclaimed.
(With inputs from Farhan Shaikh)