Chaos reigned at the metropolitan magistrate’s court in Bandra in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon when the three suspects in the Sheena Bora murder case were brought there amid tight security. People who were there for other cases expressed their anger and frustration when the police blocked the main gate and denied them access to the first floor while Indrani Mukerjea, Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamwar Rai were being escorted inside.
Sanjeev’s brother and cousin had been waiting in courtroom nine on the first floor, discussing the case with Khanna’s lawyer, since 10 am. As word began to spread that the three accused were on their way, people in an around the court could be heard discussing the case and putting forth their own theories about the motive for the crime. From advocates to tea vendors, everyone had their own take on the case and its various twists.
As Indrani, Sanjeev and Shyamwar arrived, a crowd of journalists followed them to the court’s entrance while the police tried to maintain a cordon. Indrani’s face was covered with the dupatta of her light-green salwar kameez, while Sanjeev and Shyamwar used black cloths to cover theirs.
As they entered the court, the police blocked the main gate and also prevented those already inside the building from going to the first floor. This caused a huge ruckus, as the police shoved and manhandled people – including women journalists – at will.
“We are being treated like criminals while the accused get VIP treatment. The cops cannot stop us from going to a certain part of the court if we are here for a case. This is a public building and is meant for everyone’s cases,” said a man who was there for a hearing of his case.
The crowd inside courtroom nine was so large that the accused had to raise their hands to be identified. Their faces, however, remained covered the whole time, something that is allowed in very few cases. After their police custody was extended, Sanjeev’s lawyer spoke to his client briefly. The court also allowed Indrani’s lawyer to meet her in the presence of the police.