The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to former media executive Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in 2012 high-profile murder case of Sheena Bora. The court said that six and a half years (the duration that Mukerjea has spent in jail) is too long a time.
A bench headed by Justice Nageswara Rao noted that she has been in jail for over six years and the trial won’t be concluded in near future. 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.
During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mukerjea, submitted before the top court that his client has been in jail for more than six years and taking into account the ongoing state of affairs it is apparent that the trial will not come to an end in 10 years. “Six and a half years she has been in jail. The trial is not going to end in the next 10 years,” he submitted before the court.
The top court asked Rohatgi, how many witnesses are there in the case. Rohatgi responded that 185 witnesses are yet to be examined. He added that no witness has been examined in the past one and half years, and her husband is already on bail.
Rohatgi further submitted that the trial court has been vacant without a presiding officer since June, 2021. He also informed the top court that his client is also not well. “My husband is on bail. This lady is not well. She is suffering,” he said. Mukherjea has been in jail since her arrest in the murder case in 2015.
Recently Mukerjea created a sensation by sending a letter to the CBI claiming that her daughter Sheena Bora was alive. The CBI has made it clear this particular angle will not be taken up, unless there is an intervention from the court.
Mukerjea had in January approached the Supreme Court for bail. She filed a special leave petition (SLP) against the Bombay high court order of November 16 refusing her bail in the case for which she was arrested on August 25, 2015 and has been behind bars since.
The HC bench of Justice Nitin Sambre while rejecting her bail plea on merits had said, “There is enough material on record to infer prima facie involvement of the applicant in the crime.” Her SLP filed through advocate on record Sandeep Singh with her counsel Sana Raees Khan sought her bail on merits of the case saying “There is no substantive evidence to support prosecution’s case” against her.
Mukherjea’s driver, who was arrested in connection with another case, confessed to having murdered Sheena Bora along with Indrani Mukerjea and her second husband Sanjeev Khanna.
Sheena Bora was Indrani’s daughter from her first marriage with Siddhartha Das. Bora reportedly had a relationship with Peter Mukerjea’s son from his earlier marriage Rahul.
Reports during time of Mukerjea’s arrest in 2015 stated that to both Peter and Rahul, Indrani Mukerjea had introduced Sheena Bora as her sister.