Indrani Mukerjea returned to jail yesterday after she was discharged from JJ Hospital, where she had been under treatment for drug overdose since Friday. Once again, Indrani — who is in the dock for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora — is at the centre of a controversy, with medical experts disagreeing on whether she had indeed overdosed or not.
Indrani Mukerjea is in the dock for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora
Her treating doctors continue to stick to their initial diagnosis of a drug overdose, and have confirmed this to special IGP (prisons) Bipin Kumar Singh, who is conducting a probe into the incident.
The CBI has requested for at least three weeks’ time to question Indrani and the other two accused in the Sheena Bora murder case — her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyam Rai
Sunday mid-day had reported how Indrani’s medical samples had been sent to the state Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), as well as Hinduja Hospital. While Hinduja’s reports came back positive for overdose, the FSL report was negative.
'Clear case of drug overdose'
Earlier on, this paper had already reported how the doctors at JJ Hospital had suspected drug overdose after Indrani was found unconscious in jail (‘Indrani tries to kill self in jail’, October 3).
According to sources, on Monday, IGP Singh summoned the two doctors who had examined her at the jail and treated her over five days at JJ — Dr Tanveer Halgale (chief resident in medical unit 5 of JJ Hospital) and Dr Wiqar Shaikh (consulting physician at Byculla Jail and professor of Medicine at Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital).
In their statement, they told him, “It is a clear case of drug overdose, and she is responding well to our line of treatment, which is similar to any drug overdose case. Her MRI scan ruled out any probability of stroke and the EEG test was also negative for epilepsy.”
Indrani’s hospital discharge card also stated ‘drug overdose (benzodiazepine)’. The urine report from Hinduja — confirming a level of 2,088 ng/ml of the drug, which is ten times the safe limit — was attached to the discharge note.
JJ hospital doctors revealed, on condition of anonymity, that Indrani had also been examined by neurologists and psychiatrists before her discharge and both departments had confirmed that it was a case of overdose. Interestingly, although JJ Hospital dean Dr T P Lahane had also stated the same thing initially, he backtracked on the overdose diagnosis after the FSL report came negative.
According to sources, Dr Lahane and JJ Hospital superintendent Dr Nitin Bavdekar were both spotted escorting Indrani back to the police van at 5 pm yesterday, an act that has not gone down well with staffers at the hospital, who said it was giving undue privilege to an undertrial.
When mid-day contacted Dr Lahane, he said, “Indrani has been discharged from the hospital and I do not want to say anything further on this case.” Attempts made to contact Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Medical Education Minister Vinod Tawade did not yield results.
Doctors attached to JJ Hospital said that the report from FSL might have differed from the Hinduja report because of the delay in sending samples. Within two hours of Indrani’s admission on Friday, the police had collected approximately 30 ml of urine as well as the gastic lavage (stomach wash) to send to the FSL.
However, as it was Gandhi Jayanti, the lab was closed and the samples could only be delivered around midnight, after Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya ordered the lab be opened. The report was ready the next day.
On the other hand, the hospital had sent 20 ml of urine to Hinduja immediately, and the report came back the same evening. However, an FSL scientist said, “We stand by our findings and we have done the testing on the sample, as per the procedures.”
mid-day accessed a list of questions put to Indrani by doctors at JJ Hospital, soon after she was brought here. According to sources, Indrani’s answers seemed confused and evasive
Doc: How are you?
Indrani: I am fine.
Doc: Do you remember having met me before?
Doc: I am the jail doctor, who examined you a day after you were sent to Byculla jail.
Indrani: I do not remember.
Doc: Where were you when you fell unconscious?
Indrani: I was at home.
Doc: Had you taken any pills?
Indrani: No, I didn’t take any pills.
No case filed yet
Senior Police Inspector Shivaji Kadam of Nagpada police station said no case had been filed under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide), as the cops had not recorded Indrani’s statement yet. “If it is confirmed that she did attempt to kill herself, we will approach the state law officer and will take appropriate steps as advised,” he added.
IGP Singh said he had almost completed recording the statements of all the concerned jail staff and doctors to understand whether there were any lapses that led to the incident.
Indrani’s statement would also be recorded soon. “I will be submitting my report to the Principal Secretary (Appeals and Security) Dr Vijay Satbir Singh soon,” he added.
However, IPS officer-turned-advocate Y P Singh questioned why the IGP of prisons had been appointed to head the probe into possible lapses in the jail. He added that a neutral official should have been appointed for the investigation instead.
A Mumbai court will today pass an order on the CBI’s request seeking permission to interrogate Indrani in jail. The CBI has requested for at least three weeks’ time to question Indrani and the other two accused in the Sheena Bora murder — her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyam Rai. The court also asked JJ Hospital to furnish Indani’s medical reports.