Learnt a lot in prison, says Indrani Mukerjea after leaving Byculla jail

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Indrani Mukerjee, who has been accused of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora in April 2012.
Indrani Mukerjea stepped out of the Byculla women’s jail at about 5.25pm and stepped in a Mercedes Benz that came to fetch her. (PTI)
Indrani Mukerjea stepped out of the Byculla women’s jail at about 5.25pm and stepped in a Mercedes Benz that came to fetch her. (PTI)
Updated on May 20, 2022 07:56 PM IST
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Mumbai Former INX Media chief executive officer Indrani Mukerjea walked out of the Byculla women’s jail at about 5.25pm on Friday, nearly seven years after she was arrested for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora in April 2012.

On Friday, Mukerjea (60) furnished a personal bond of 2 lakh as directed by the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court a day earlier. “We completed the bail formalities at the Session’s Court around 1.10pm and deposited the release order in the ‘bail box’ outside the Byculla Women’s jail at around 3.03pm,” said advocate Sana Raees Khan who appeared for Indrani.

“The bail box opens five times a day -- at 8am, 11.30am, 3.30pm, 5pm and 5.30pm. We got the release order of Indrani Mukerjea around 3.30pm and after completing formalities, released her,” said a prison official who did not wish to be named.

Mukerjea stepped out of the women’s jail, dressed in a white Salwar and white Kameez. She waved at the crowd of news cameramen waiting for her and a sizable number of onlookers gathered outside the jail gate, and stepped in a Mercedes Benz that came to fetch her.

“I am very happy,” Indrani said while briefly speaking to the media. “I have learnt a lot in prison. I believe in empathy and forgiveness.”

According to her another lawyer, advocate Edith Dey, from the jail she straight away went to her flat at Worli. “Nobody stays at the Marlow Apartments at Worli now. I have redone the property for Indrani to return to it,” she said. “Vidhi and Peter Mukerjea, Indrani’s ex-husband, stay in Goa, both at different locations. Indrani won’t be able to meet anyone of them due to her bail conditions, as some of them are witnesses in the case,” said Dey, who represented Mukerjea in divorce proceedings.

“Indrani will be going to Worli property. I had the keys of the property. The house was cleaned after Indrani got bail from the Apex Court and today, I handed her the keys of the house,” Dey said and added that Indrani has several properties and gets good income by way of rent. “She is also writing an autobiography which will be released soon,” she added.

She had unsuccessfully moved the special CBI court, where the trial is ongoing, as well as the Bombay high court (HC) for bail on numerous occasions over the years, and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on May 18.

While granting bail to Mukerjea, the top court said that she had already spent six-and-a-half years behind bars and the trial was not likely to conclude soon. Noting that the other accused in the case, Indrani’s former husband Peter Mukherjea, was already on bail since February 2020, the court allowed Mukerjea’s bail subject to the conditions on which Peter was granted bail, and anything further imposed by the trial court.

On Thursday, special CBI judge V C Barde ordered Mukerjea to furnish a personal bond of 2 lakh. and sureties of the same amount. Accepting her lawyer’s request, the special court granted Mukerjea two weeks to furnish the sureties.

Mukerjea has been in jail since August 25, 2015. According to the prosecution, Mukerjea, together with her former spouse Sanjeev Khanna, allegedly kidnapped Bora — Mukerjea’s daughter from a previous relationship — strangulated her in a car driven by Shyamwar Rai and disposed of the body in a forest near Gagode village on Pen-Khopoli road in the neighbouring Raigad district the following day.

Although Bora’s remains were discovered within days, the plot to murder her only came to light on August 21, 2015 when the Khar police arrested Rai for another crime. During his interrogation, Rai revealed details pertaining to Bora’s murder following which a case was registered and the police apprehended the key accused, Khanna, Rai and Mukerjea. CBI took over the investigation in September, and also arrested Peter Mukerjea, claiming that he was part of the conspiracy to kill Bora. CBI investigators said that Peter and Mukerjea were unhappy about Bora’s relationship with Rahul, who is Peter’s son from a previous marriage.

In her bail plea, Mukerjea’s lawyer told the top court that the prosecution cited 237 witnesses, but only 68 had been examined so far. There was no presiding officer for the special CBI court for over a year which was causing a delay in the trial.

The CBI opposed her plea contending that there was evidence that showed her involvement in the crime and offered to give up 50% of the remaining witnesses to ensure that the trial concluded early.

The Supreme Court, however, granted Mukerjea bail, saying that even if that were the case, the trial would not end soon. The apex court directed Mukerjea to surrender her passport to the special CBI court and not to leave India without prior permission of the special court. She was also disallowed from meeting or trying to establish contact with any of the witnesses till their testimonies were recorded.


    Charul Shah is senior reporter covering the legal beat for Hindustan Times. She has spent over a decade in the industry covering criminal investigations and judiciary from Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru.

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