The special CBI court hearing the Sheena Bora murder case is likely to frame charges against the three accused on January 17. On Wednesday, the court finished hearing the charges applicable to the three – Sheena’s mother and prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, Indrani’s husband Peter Mukerjea and Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna. They have been booked for murdering Sheena and disposing of her body, and for attempting to murder Indrani’s son and Sheena’s brother Mikhail Bora.
On Wednesday, Peter’s lawyer Mihir Gheewala began by saying that many charges invoked by the prosecution did not apply to his client. “There is no evidence or material to show Peter’s involvement for the charges of attempt to murder, cheating or forgery,” Gheewala said.
He also argued that unless there was evidence to show that Peter conspired with the others to commit an offence, he could not be charged with attempt to murder, forgery or cheating.
Referring to the CBI’s charge sheet, Gheewala said, “The agency has tried to colour the case by adding several emails and messages. The agency, by referring to some paragraphs and lines, tried to interpret and draw an inference for the involvement of Peter.”
Khanna’s lawyer Niranjan Mundargi also contested some of the charges levelled by the prosecution. He said that though Section 66A of Information Technology Act had been quashed by the Supreme Court, the CBI had nonetheless invoked it against his client. He added that there was no material evidence to support the allegations of murder and conspiracy. “As far as the instances of forgery or cheating are concerned, Khanna had no role to play. Hence those charges cannot be applied,” Mundargi said.
After he concluded his arguments, judge HS Mahajan scheduled the framing of charges for January 17.
The murder of Sheena Bora, Indrani’s daughter, was discovered by accident in August 2015 when the Mumbai police arrested her former driver Shyamwar Rai in an unrelated case. During questioning, he revealed to the police details of Sheena’s murder in 2012.
On August 25, 2015, the Mumbai police arrested Indrani Mukerjea and accused her of murdering Sheena Bora. She was charged under sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 34 (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. On August 26, Indrani’s ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna was arrested in Kolkata and charged under sections 364 (kidnapping), 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 120-B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The same day, Sheena’s brother Mikhail revealed that Sheena was Indrani’s daughter and not her sister, as Indrani used to claim.
Peter was arrested on November 19, 2015 on charges related to Sheena’s murder. He was also accused of siphoning company funds into a bank account in Sheena’s name in Singapore.