“My husband is innocent and these rich people are so powerful. He is being trapped in this murder case,” said Sharda, wife of Shyam Rai, the driver who is one of the accused in the controversial Sheena Bora murder case. Of the three main accused, Shyam was the first to be picked up by the Mumbai Police on August 21, in connection with a case of illegal arms possession.
The couple and their seven-year-old daughter live in this house in Vakola. (Inset) Sheena Bora. Pics/Sameer Markande
During interrogation, it was Shyam who confessed to the 2012 murder of Sheena Bora, alleging that it was his former employer, Indrani Mukerjea (Sheena’s mother) who had planned the whole thing. However, Sharda thinks Shyam doesn’t have it in him to kill a person. “He is so scared of the dark, he cannot bear even a second without light. How can such a person commit murder?” she said.
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Before Shyam’s arrest, he had told her he was going to Delhi for some work, and it was only through the newspapers that she learnt of his arrest. “I have no television at home and no police official informed me about his arrest.
After I started getting calls about him from my native place, I read a newspaper and learnt that he had been arrested for some murder case,” said Sharda. Shyam (43) and Sharda (26) got married in the year 2007, as soon as she turned 18. Her parents were deceased and she had been brought up by her relatives.
For three years after marriage, she stayed in Damua near Nagpur. In 2010, Shyam brought her to Mumbai, and they settled in Vakola. “After I was brought to Mumbai I came to know that my husband is employed by some Indrani in Khar.
I never met her in my life and Rai never spoke about her either. When he finished work, he would come home and play with our seven-year-old daughter. He never discussed his work with me,” she recalled. Shyam had been working for Indrani for three years, but was removed from the job some six months ago.
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“He earned Rs 12,000 a month while he was working with Indrani and he would hand me Rs 10,000 for household expenses and use the remaining money for travel. Then Indrani said she didn’t need a driver anymore because she was settling abroad,” Sharda said, adding that Shyam later began to drive an auto rickshaw and would earn Rs 10,000 a month.
‘Never said anything’
Asked whether Shyam had ever mentioned anything about the Sheena Bora case, Sharda told mid-day, “He never said anything about this. He would sit for drinks with the neighbours but even when he was drunk, he never spoke a word about it.”
She said Shyam would often go away for up to a week a time, claiming he had some work out of station. When she heard that the police had found a weapon on him, she was shocked. “I read in one newspaper that he was caught with some weapon, but I have never seen him with even a knife in hand. I cannot imagine him carrying a weapon,” she added.
The monthly salary that Shyam earned working as Indrani’s driver
The amount that Shyam earned per month by driving a rickshaw after he lost his job
Number of years that Shyam worked as Indrani’s driver