A bench of Justices — L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna — granted bail to Mukerjea while noting that she has been in jail for six-and-half years.
Sheena Bora, Indrani Mukerjea. File Pic
The Sheena Bora murder case has made headlines yet again after Indrani Mukerjea, the mother and prime accused in the case, was granted bail by the Supreme Court in her daughter's murder case.
A bench of Justices — L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna — granted bail to Mukerjea while noting that she has been in jail for six-and-half years. The bench also noted that the case is based on circumstantial evidence and that even if 50 per cent of the witnesses are given up by the prosecution, the trial would not get over soon.
The bench while releasing her said, "We are granting bail to Indrani Mukerjea. Six-and-a-half years is too long a time. We are not making comments on the merits of the case. Even if 50 per cent of witnesses are given up by the prosecution, the trial would not be over soon. She is granted bail. She will be released on bail subject to satisfaction of the trial court. The same conditions imposed on Peter Mukherjea will also be imposed on her."
What is the Sheena Bora murder case?
In April 2012, a case was filed with the Mumbai Police alleging the kidnapping and murder of Sheena Bora. In 2015, the CBI took up the investigation. Indira was arrested and so was her husband, Peter Mukerjea, who has already been granted bail in 2020. The trial of the case started in the year 2017 and almost 60 witnesses have recorded their statements till now. Apart from Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, Sanjeev Khanna (ex-husband of Indrani), and Shyamvar Rai (Indrani's driver) are also accused in the case.
In December last year, Indrani wrote a letter to the CBI stating that she would move the special court to record the statement of an inmate who had claimed to have met Bora in Kashmir. The court has rejected her bail on several occasions.
In November last year, the Bombay High Court rejected her bail plea, noting that material in the form of circumstantial evidence strongly supported her direct involvement in the murder.
When did the case come to light?
The case first came to light after the arrest of Indrani's driver, Shyamvar Rai, in another case in August 2015. During the investigation, he confessed to killing Sheena Bora in April 2012 and said that he dumped her body in the Raigad district of Maharashtra.
He had also told Mumbai Police that Sheena's mother, Indrani, and Sanjeev Khanna were also involved in the murder. According to CBI's case before the court, Indrani killed Sheena because she was furious over the relationship between Sheena, whom she introduced as her sister to everyone, and Rahul Mukerjea, son of Peter Mukerjea (third husband of Indrani Mukerjea) from his first marriage.
As per CBI, she (Indrani) had killed Sheena as the latter was threatening to expose her in public over the fact that she was not her sister, but her daughter. Driver Shyamvar Rai turned approver in this case. Other twists in the case In a twist to the Sheena Bora murder case, accused Indrani Mukerjea in December last year told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that her daughter is alive and the agency should look for her in Kashmir.
In January 2022, Indrani Mukerjea submitted a hand-written application before a special court in Mumbai claiming Sheena, whom she is accused of killing, is alive. Mukerjea, in the eight-page application submitted through her lawyer Sana Raees Khan, sought the court to direct the CBI, the prosecution, to file an affidavit in response to her claims. Mukerjea has sought to know if the Central Bureau of Investigation has taken any steps to ascertain her claims that Sheena Bora was alive.
As per the application, in November 2021, a woman introduced herself as Asha Korke, a former police inspector who was arrested in an extortion case also involving former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, inside the Byculla women's prison. Korke allegedly told Mukerjea that in June, 2021 she was in Srinagar where she met a woman who looked like Sheena. When Korke approached the woman and asked if she was Sheena, the woman replied in the affirmative, the application said.
(With inputs from Agencies)