On Saturday afternoon, Mumbai Police made a plea before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate SM Chandgade, at the Bandra Magistrate Court, asking that the police custody of the three accused in the Sheena Bora murder case investigation — Indrani Mukerjea, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and Indrani’s former driver Shyamwar Rai — be extended till September 7. The accused were arrested between August 25 and August 29 for the 2012 murder of Sheena, Indrani’s daughter.
Indrani Mukerjea was produced in Bandra Court yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Speaking against the plea, Indrani’s lawyer Gunjan Mangla, arguing for judicial custody, told the court, “It’s been 12 days and 200 hours of investigation. She has been taken to all the places for investigation and has also been confronted with other accused. Too much time has been given for investigation. Till date what evidence do they have that ties down Indrani as an accused? No medical reports have been filed. Therefore, Indrani should be granted judicial custody.”
The defence accused the police of “conducting a media trial and prejudicing the proceedings”. Indrani is not a hardened criminal, said her lawyer. “There is no medical evidence. Two days of police custody is a humiliation of my client. Accounts cannot be recovered from my client. She is in custody. They have to recover it from bankers,” he added.
However, arguing for the police, Public Prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade said that after murdering Sheena, Indrani created fake email IDs to mail people from it, making them believe that Sheena was in the US and safe. The police, who wants to access these emails, wants extended time to investigate this aspect. Bagade added that the police also wants to investigate why the trio — believed to have murdered Sheena on April 24, 2012, and then dumped her partially burnt body in a Raigad forest the next day — selected Pen as the dumping site. The investigators also want to recover a few more items used during the crime, along with the credit card that Indrani is believed to have used to purchase them.
In addition, Bagade said that Indrani had not confessed to the murder, having denied it altogether and was not co-operating with the police.
Arguing for extended police custody of all three accused, Bagade said that operating a fake email ID and disposing the body, could not have been done by one person alone, and that it’s possible that more were involved in the crime, something that the police wants to investigate. Bagade told the court, “The police has not wasted a single day while the accused were in custody. Considering the vastness of the case, we need more time to investigate. Therefore, we want police custody.”
Khanna’s advocate Shreyansh Mithare who argued that the police didn’t need his client’s custody for further investigations, told sunday mid-day, “When I met Khanna for the five mintues granted by court, he told me that he hasn’t confessed to any crime. Police have also randomly taken Khanna’s signatures on a few papers with something written in Marathi on them.”
On Saturday, 12 days after his arrest, Indrani’s former driver Shyamvar Rai finally engaged a lawyer. No one had represented him at the earlier hearings. Police on Saturday also maintained that it had not yet given a “clean chit” to former media baron Peter Mukerjea — Indrani’s husband — in the case. The court granted police the custody of all three accused.
Meanwhile, cops detained Indrani’s bodyguard from Kolkata for questioning — a likely fourth arrest in the case. They suspect he helped the other three accused dump Sheena’s body in Pen, Raigad. “We haven’t arrested him yet. He had left his job and settled in Kolkata,” an officer said. Mumbai police teams have been posted in Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati to pick up suspects quickly. — WITH INPUTS from
vinay dalvi and agencies