Indrani,Peter Mukerjea charged with murder in Sheena Bora case
Mumbai : A special CBI court today framed charges of murder and criminal conspiracy against Indrani Mukerjea, her husband Peter Mukerjea and former husband Sanjeev Khanna for the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora in 2012.
All the accused were explained the charges framed against them. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and said they would face trial.
Judge H S Mahajan kept the matter for trial to begin on February 1.
All the three accused were charged under IPC sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 364 (kidnapping), 302 (murder), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), 203 (giving false information in respect of an offence) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).
Additionally, Indrani and Sanjeev were charged under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) for plotting to kill her son and Sheena’s brother Mikhail Bora.
Mikhail had earlier alleged that Indrani had spiked his drink on the same day when Sheena was killed.
Besides, Indrani was also charged under IPC section 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record).
Indrani, former media baron Peter and Sanjeev were present in the court today. They were sitting separately in the dock and were later seen chatting with their lawyers outside the court.
The CBI had on December 19 started arguments on framing of charges in the sensational Sheena Bora case, saying it was her relationship with Rahul, Peter’s son from earlier marriage, that led to her murder.
Sheena was murdered on April 24, 2012, and her body was burnt and disposed of at a forest in Raigad district on the next day, according to the prosecution.
Indrani was arrested in connection with the case in August 2015.
Apart from Indrani, Peter, Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamver Rai were also arrested in the case.
Rai had earlier turned approver in the case and disclosed to CBI how the crime was committed by the accused.
The CBI had on December 19 last year started arguments on framing of charges in the sensational Sheena Bora case, saying it was her relationship with Rahul, Peter’s son from earlier marriage, that led to her murder.
Special public prosecutors Bharat Badami and Kavita Patil had contended that the trouble started when the accused learnt that Rahul (Peter’s son with first wife) and Sheena (Indrani’s daughter from earlier relationship) were in a relationship.
“There was total and full support to Vidhie (daughter of Indrani and Khanna) and total disregard towards Sheena,” Badami had argued.
He had also told Judge Mahajan that the I-T returns of Indrani between 2005-08 showed she gave more money to Vidhie than to Sheena.
The reason for the murder was property, he said, adding that CBI added a charge of forgery against the accused in connection with a suspicious sale of property in Delhi.
Indrani had a soft corner for Vidhie and was worried that if Rahul-Sheena marriage materialised, all Peter’s property will go to Rahul, the prosecutor said.
Badami also said Peter was fully aware of the crime. He was Rahul’s father, but he did not take any “appreciable step” over Rahul’s concerns when Sheena went missing.
In one of her emails to Indrani, Sheena expressed her desire to marry Rahul and said she was happy and safe with him, the prosecutor said, adding “it discloses true love and affection between them (Rahul and Sheena)”.
On her return to India on April 23, 2012, Indrani and others planned to kill both Sheena and her brother Mikhail and even decided the place for disposal of the bodies, but Mikhail luckily escaped, Badami said.
On the day of murder, after Rahul dropped Sheena at a place (in Mumbai) where Indrani was waiting for her, Indrani hugged her daughter. No previous instance where Indrani may have hugged Sheena came to light in the probe, he said.
Indrani purchased bottles of water, vodka and some sleep inducing medicines, which were given to Sheena. “After Sheena became drowsy, Indrani killed her and said (to the co-accused) that ‘Sheena got her 3BHK flat’, he said.
Investigators had earlier said that Sheena had demanded a 3BHK flat from Indrani.
As to Peter’s defence that he was not aware of the conspiracy, Badami said Indrani had had a talk with him (on phone). “Never before the incident they had such a long chat, it was not ordinary call but she was reporting (about the murder) to Peter,” Badami had earlier argued.