A day after the Supreme Court granted bail to Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora was not released from the jail on Thursday due to incomplete paperwork, reported NDTV. The former media executive will walk out of prison on Friday as the CBI court allowed her release on furnishing a cash bond of Rs 2 lakh. Indrani Mukerjea is currently lodged at the Byculla women’s prison in Mumbai following her arrest in August 2015.
Special judge for CBI cases V C Barde on Thursday asked Mukerjea to furnish a surety (guarantor) for Rs 2 lakh within two weeks. She can be released in the meantime as soon as she submits a provisional cash bond for the same amount, the judge said in the order.
The order stated Mukerjea must surrender her passport before the special court and not leave India without the court’s permission. The court also directed Mukerjea not to contact any of the witnesses in the case or tamper with evidence. She must attend the trial and not seek any adjournments, it said.
“If there is any breach of the above conditions, the prosecution shall be at liberty to apply for cancellation of bail,” judge Barde said in his order. “The accused is ready to furnish cash bail provisionally. She may be released on bail upon furnishing the cash bail bond,” the order said.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao of the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Indrani Mukerjea saying that six-and-a-half years in prison is too long a term and that the trial will not be completed anytime soon as out of 237 witnesses cited by the prosecution, only 68 have been examined till date.
Indrani Mukerjea, a former media executive and the wife of media baron Peter Mukerjea, was arrested in 2015 for the alleged murder of her own daughter, Sheena Bora (24) in April 2012. She planned the murder in view of the live-in relationship of her daughter with Rahul Mukerjea, who is the son of Peter Mukerjea through his earlier wife.
The murder was brought to light three years after Bora’s death with the arrest of Shyamvar Rai, Indrani’s former driver, for illegal possession of a weapon on August 21, 2015.
During the interrogation, Rai told the police that he knew of a murder that had taken place in April 2012 and accused Indrani Mukherjea of strangulating her daughter Sheena in a car with the help of her former husband Sanjeev Khanna.
Bora, her daughter from an earlier relationship, was killed by Indrani and Khanna in a car which Rai was driving, and the body was buried in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district the next day. The body had been found in a decomposed state a month after the murder but remained unidentified for three years till Rai’s alleged disclosure, the police said.
The case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September 2015. In November 2015, the CBI arrested Peter Mukerjea for allegedly being part of the conspiracy. Indrani and Peter were unhappy with Sheena Bora’s relationship with Rahul, Peter Mukerjea’s son from an earlier marriage, the CBI said. There was also a financial dispute between Sheena and her mother, it added.
Indrani Mukherjea’s driver Shyamvar Rai in a trial in 2017 revealed she contacted Rai through her assistant and spoke to him on Skype, promising to take care of his family’s medical and educational needs if he helped them with the killing.
Indrani denied the allegations in court and maintained she was innocent in the case. Rai had been lying, and on one occasion when the two of them were being brought to the court in the same vehicle, he asked for Rs 50 lakh for “remaining silent,” she alleged.
During her bail hearing, where she argued in person, Indrani claimed that Rai brought the sum down to Rs 5 lakh later, but she did not entertain him as she was innocent.
Former media baron Peter Mukerjea’s marriage to Indrani Mukerjea ended during her period of incarceration in 2019.
Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the CBI, told the Supreme Court that there is clinching evidence in the form of call records against Indrani Mukerjea about her involvement in the case. He said 50 per cent of the remaining witnesses have been given up and the trial would end soon. He opposed the bail plea and told the apex court that one of the crucial witnesses, Rahul Mukerjea, the alleged boyfriend of Sheena Bora, is slated to be examined on May 27.
(With inputs from PTI)