Indrani Mukerjea drug overdose: What happened inside Byculla jail

Apr 08, 2018, 07:25 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Is Indrani safe in Byculla jail? Admission to overdosing by high profile media entrepreneur accused of murdering her daughter, points to yet another security lapse

Indrani Mukerjea
Indrani Mukerjea

mid-day's report dated October 7, 2015, noted that special IGP (prisons) Bipin Kumar Singh was conducting an inquiry into the incident by recording statements of jail staff and doctors to understand whether any lapses had led to Indrani falling unconscious, following which she was treated for benzodiazepine overdose by the doctors at JJ. Hinduja's urine report confirmed a level of 2,088 ng/ml of the drug, 10 times the safe limit

A day after Indrani Mukerjea was rushed to JJ Hospital after she was found lying unconscious inside her cell at Byculla Women's Jail, she finally regained consciousness around 7 pm yesterday. When she opened her eyes, the first words she stuttered to her doctors were, "I'm sorry. I took tablets," a source told mid-day. According to the source, Indrani continues to be drowsy, and preliminary tests have pointed towards drug overdose.

This is not the first time that Indrani has landed at the hospital for suspected case of overdose. Incidentally, on October 2, 2015, Indrani was brought to JJ Hospital in a similar condition and had to be kept at the Critical Care Unit (CCU). At the time too, diagnosis had confirmed drug overdose.

Indrani Mukerjea

Indrani, who is the main accused in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, had kept jail authorities on tenterhooks all through the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. She had lost consciousness around 10 pm on Friday. Indrani, who was inside her cell, had been murmuring in her sleep, which caught the attention of the jail guard. Alarmed, he went in, and tried to wake her up. When she did not respond, the jail guard rushed to call the in-house jail doctor Dr SA Khan and jail superintendent AA Mugutarao, who rushed her to the emergency ward of JJ Hospital.

Highly-placed sources said Indrani was only responding to painful stimulus by moving her hands and legs. The team of treating doctors, who work under Dr Waqar Shaikh, a professor of medicine and head of unit 5, found that her pupils had turned small, even though her blood pressure and pulse were normal. Suspecting a case of drug overdose, the doctors informed Dr Shaikh, who also rushed to the hospital. The doctors had to force intravenous fluid alkaline dieresis to flush the drug out of her system. A slight improvement was seen in her condition only on Saturday evening, over 15 hours after her admission. "We are firm about our diagnosis [drug overdose]. Indrani was brought in an unconscious state to the hospital and we have removed the toxins from her system. There is a huge improvement in her health, and this establishes it's a case of 'drug overdose'," a source said.

Graphic/Ravi Jadhav
Graphic/Ravi Jadhav

However, Dr Sudhir Nanandkar, dean of Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, said that Indrani was being treated for poisoning. "We usually see the pupils contract either in case of poisoning or brain haemorrhage. We have started symptomatic treatment for suspected 'poisoning', though her MRI shows some slight portion of ischemic infarct in brain, which we are monitoring. The samples sent for toxin findings will give a clearer picture about any presence of toxins." A source said that Indrani's temperature had gone up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday around 10 pm, after which doctors conducted an X-ray of her chest, and found a small patch of pneumonia. She is currently on antibiotics, and doctors will be doing a CT scan today to rule out infection.

A doctor at JJ hospital said that Indrani's blood, urine and stomach wash (gastric lavage) samples were collected and will be sent for laboratory testing to the state Forensic Science Laboratory, Kalina. "The samples will also be sent to Hinduja Hospital, for toxin screening," the doctor said.

Interestingly, the last time (in October 2015), the FSL's report on toxins were negative, but Hinduja's report had confirmed high presence of benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used for treating anxiety. At the time, it was claimed that Indrani was under psychiatry medication for depression.

Dr KY Kulkarni, director, FSL, said that the samples for toxicology findings of Indrani had not come to him. According to doctors, Indrani's condition is being monitored. She is responding well to oral commands. When asked if the JJ Marg police was intimated about her condition, as it is a medicolegal case, the doctor said, "She isn't in a state to record her statement."

Also read: Indrani Mukerjea undergoes brain MRI, condition stable

What happened on Friday
According to AA Mugutarao, jail superintendent at Byculla Jail, Indrani did not have jail food on Friday. "As usual, she left for her court hearing at the sessions court. She returned at 4.40 pm to the jail and skipped her dinner at prison. Indrani told her cell mates that she had eaten food outside and was not having dinner at jail. She went to sleep at 9 pm." She lost consciousness an hour later. Mugutarao said that Indrani had been prescribed anti-depressants and medicines for blood pressure by the jail doctor, which were always taken in front of the jail guards. "The jail guards would ensure that she has them in their presence. We don't know what she had outside."

Lunch time (Friday): At Sessions court hearing
04 pm: Leaves court
04.40 pm: In prison, skips dinner
09 pm: Goes to sleep
10 pm: Discovered by guard in delirious state, rushed to JJ Hospital
07 pm: (Saturday) Regains consciousness, is in state of drowsiness

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