The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Indrani Mukerjee in the Sheena Bora murder case. The court said she has already undergone 6.5 years in custody and the trial will not end soon. The Court also noted that the other accused in the case, Peter Mukherjee is already on bail since February 2020. The court allowed Indrani to be released on bail subject to all those conditions on which Peter Mukherjee was granted bail.
Mukerjee is facing trial for allegedly killing her daughter Sheena on April 24, 2012. She was arrested by Khar police on August 25, 2015, and has been lodged at the Byculla Jail since September 2015. Her former husband Peter Mukerjea, ex-CEO of Star India, and Sanjeev Khanna are the co-accused in the case. Peter was granted bail last year.
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 percent 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 Mukerjee, 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. AS per Rohatgi, there are 185 witnesses to be examined, of which no witnesses have been examined so far in past one and a half years span, and his husband is already on bail. Rohatgi further claimed that the trial court has been vacant since June 2021 without a presiding officer. He also informed the court that his client is not keeping well.
Recently a letter was sent to the CBI of India by Indrani claiming that her daughter Sheena Bora is alive and had been spotted by a fellow prisoner in Srinagar. That claim was rubbished by the CBI as a “figment of her imagination” and next to impossible.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, and AS Bopanna passed the order in a special leave petition filed against an order passed by the Bombay high court in November 2021. The Supreme Court bench noted that the case is based on circumstantial evidence and that even if 50% of the witnesses are given up by the prosecution, the trial will go on.
Indrani Mukerjea faces trial in the 2012 murder of 25-year-old Sheena Bora, a sensational case that captivated the nation with twists and turns worthy of a thriller. She was arrested in 2015 on charges of murdering Sheena Bora, her daughter from her first marriage, with help from her driver Shyamvar Rai and a former husband, Sanjeev Khanna. Investigators said Indrani was angry with her daughter’s relationship with Rahul Mukerjea, her husband Peter Mukerjea’s son from an earlier marriage. Peter Mukerjea, who was arrested months after Indrani on charges of helping her, was granted bail in 2020. The judges noted that it was a case of circumstantial evidence.
Sheena Bora went missing for three years after her murder. Indrani claimed Sheena to be her sister who has moved to the US. Sheena’s half-burnt body was found in a dug up near a forest in Mumbai, which was revealed by her driver in a statement after his arrest in another case. Sheena Bora was alleged of strangled her daughter in the car. While still in jail, Indrani and Peter Mukerjea ended their 17-year relationship and were granted a divorce in 2019.