Former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea has said slain Sheena Bora had told him she was his step-daughter but he had no reason to doubt his wife Indrani's denial of that claim though he found it "difficult to digest".
The remarks mark a turnaround by Mukerjea, who had insisted after his wife’s arrest on Monday that he believed Sheena and her sibling Mikhail were Indrani’s sister and brother. He had also said he was shocked to find out Sheena was Indrani’s daughter.
"I was told before we got married that Indrani had a brother and a sister – Sheena was the sister and Mikhail was the brother. Sheena at some later point had pointed out that it was incorrect information," Mukerjea told Times Now on Thursday.
"She had told me that 'jeeju'...Indrani is giving you wrong information and you please believe me, and told that in so many words that - I am not her sister, but I am actually her daughter. She told me that."
He added: "Of course I couldn't take that at face value, because all these years I believed that she was Indrani's sister and Indrani had told me that.
"I then confronted Indrani about it and she said it is utter rubbish and this has been fed to Sheena from somewhere else and it is completely, completely untrue and I was not to believe that at all."
Mukherjea maintained he only vaguely remembered the date when he had this conversation with Sheena, placing it sometime in 2011.
"I found it clearly very, very difficult to digest it...but there was no question of me not believing my wife, the woman whom I had married and lived with for over 10 years at that point. So why would I have any reason to believe...I needed to have certain very clear evidence for that to be in consideration," he said.
He said he had dismissed a similar claim made by his son Rahul, who was in a relationship with Sheena.
"Rahul echoed exactly the same thing that Sheena had said. Obviously they had discussed this clearly between themselves. So when Rahul told me the same thing, I responded to him in exactly the same way," he said.
"In my situation I believed my wife, 9 and a half times, 9.9 times out of 10, unless it is proven that she is wrong...She is my wife after all. So there is no question that when somebody comes and gives me a particular information, including my son who for all sorts of reasons may not have been happy about my second marriage," Mukerjea added.
Police have arrested Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyam Rai for alleged involvement in the murder of Sheena in April 2012. Rahul Mukerjea has also been quizzed by the police.