Mumbai: The sensational Sheena Bora case got murkier as the CBI slapped murder charge on former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea and accused him of playing an “active role” in the killing of his stepdaughter. A special court here remanded him to CBI custody till Monday.
It has now emerged that relations among some of the family members, property, inheritance and finance could have played a major role in her killing, for which three – Indrani Mukerjea, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamwar Rai – already stand dubbed as prime accused by the CBI.
A former Star India CEO and co-founder of INX Media Pvt. Ltd., Mukerjea is also accused of suppressing vital information from the Mumbai Police and the CBI, lying and destroying evidence pertaining to the case.
The 30-page remand plea of the CBI said that Peter Mukerjea’s son Rahul (from a previous marriage) was engaged to Sheena Bora in Dehradun and planned to get married to her raised apprehensions in the minds of Indrani and Khanna for their daughter Vidhie.
Focusing on this Rahul-Sheena relationship, the CBI remand application pointed out that Indrani wanted the property for Vidhie and planned to eliminate Sheena and even her brother Mikhail Bora.
“….in this context, she planned a conspiracy with Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai to kill Sheena Bora,” the CBI charge sheet says, dwelling on the tiff between Indrani and Sheena over the proceeds of property in New Delhi and her alleged demands for a flat in Mumbai.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, seeking Peter Mukerjea’s remand, said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) “wanted to interrogate him on the question whether he is involved in the conspiracy which was hatched to kill Sheena Bora” and he was in continuous touch with his wife Indrani “before, during and after the murder”.
“Peter Mukerjea was found to be involved in criminal conspiracy with his wife and tried to mislead his son Rahul so that he should not pursue to look for her and misinformed him that she was in the USA and was alive,” Singh contended.
He said Sheena Bora was his (Mukherjea) family member and “if she disappears suddenly, (and) he makes no efforts to find her; on the contrary, he tells his son he spoke to her – this makes it a case to be investigated.”
Singh said there are various financial transactions involved, apart from businesses in various Indian states and even abroad, which needed to be probed.
The CBI has charged Peter with the same sections slapped on the other three prime accused, who were arrested in August and are currently in judicial custody till December 3.
The charges include kidnapping, murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence, and attempt to murder.
However, the motive behind Sheena Bora’s killing is not yet clear.
The CBI remand application brought forth a new inheritance angle, besides financial, as one of the factors that triggered the crime and accused Peter Mukerjea of playing an active role along with his wife Indrani in the Sheena killing.
Referring to the conspiracy, the remand plea mentioned how Khanna dissuaded Indrani from killing her son Mikhail Bora – Sheena’s brother – the same night as it would be difficult to simultaneously handle two dead bodies.
The CBI produced Peter before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R.V. Adone who sent him to CBI remand till Monday.
Earlier, in a separate hearing, the court extended the judicial custody of Indrani, Khanna and Rai till December 3 and also committed the case to a special CBI court.
Sheena Bora, 24, Indrani’s daughter from her “live-in partner” Siddhartha Das, was allegedly strangulated in a car on the night of April 24, 2012. Later, her body was taken to the forest near Gagode village in Raigad district, around 80 km south of Mumbai.
Indrani also planned to eliminate her son Mikhail with a spiked drink but he managed to escape.
The trio is accused of pouring petrol on Sheena’s body and setting it afire before dumping the half-burnt remains in the thick bushes from where these were found on May 23 by a local villager.
However, at that time, the Raigad police failed to register a complaint in the case and the matter is being separately investigated.
Nearly three years after the killing, forensic and other tests confirmed that the human remains found in the forests were indeed of Sheena Bora.