Indrani Mukerjea being escorted to JJ Hospital for a medical check-up. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
As Indrani Mukerjea took the stand in the Sheena Bora murder trial yesterday, she also told the court about the custodial death of fellow inmate Manjula Shetye and an alleged assault on her by the jail superintendent during the recent riot in the Byculla women's prison. The court, after hearing her out, asked that she be taken to JJ Hospital for a medical check-up and later to Nagpada police station to record her statement.
Around 12:50 pm, Indrani was brought to the court with her lawyers Gunjan Mangla and Sudeep Pasbola in attendance. Pasbola told the court, "Indrani is in your custody. It is the court who will have to assert whether there was an assault." Indrani told the court, "On Friday morning, one of the inmates was been beaten up and assaulted by jail officers and I was witness to some of it. I was coming back from lunch, when I saw a sari around Manjula's neck, as an officer dragged her by her hair. I heard that she was sexually assaulted and they put a stick in her private parts."
Indrani also told the judge, "I asked my barrack guard about Manjula, and she said that she was stable. After 10 minutes, we learnt that Manjula was dead. When we asked what had happened to Manjula, they did not tell us anything." She continued, "Throughout the day, we requested to speak to a judge or the media. I somehow contacted my lawyer, and an FIR was lodged at Nagpada police station. I told the jail officer that I wanted to be witness in the case."
"An official told me 'tu witness bane ja rahi hai humare khilaf, tumko bhi dekh lenge' (you insist on testifying against us, we will show you your place too)," said Indrani, before recalling another chilling threat: "One official told me 'tumhare saath bhi aisa hi hoga' (we will do the same thing to you)." "The officer started lathi charge on prisoners, and the superintendent beat me on my hand, head and legs," recalled Indrani.