Netflix Postpones Release Of Indrani Mukerjea's Documentary, To Arrange Special Screening For Bombay HC Judges & CBI

Netflix Postpones Release Of Indrani Mukerjea's Documentary, To Arrange Special Screening For Bombay HC Judges & CBI

The documentary, directed by Shaana Levy and Uraaz Bahl, was scheduled to release on February 23 on Netflix.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, February 22, 2024, 07:42 PM IST
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Mumbai, February 22: The OTT platform Netflix informed the Bombay High Court on Thursday that it would not release till February 29 the documentary series on Indrani Mukerjea, who is facing trial for allegedly killing her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012. The court has also directed the makers of the series to hold a special screening for the CBI.

The docu-series, titled The Indrani Mukerjea Story: The Buried Truth, delves into the disappearance of 25-year-old Bora. It features interviews with Indrani, her lawyers and several witnesses in the case. It was scheduled to premiere on the platform on February 23.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the CBI seeking a stay on the release of the movie till the trial in the case is complete. The bench initially asked Netflix whether it would arrange for a special screening for the investigating agency. Senior advocate Ravi Kadam, appearing for Netflix, was reluctant saying that it would amount to pre-censorship.

Prosecution, Victims Have Rights: Court

“Why should the CBI not be allowed to see the series? What is the difficulty in sharing the series?” a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Manjusha Deshpande asked. The court remarked that while an accused has rights, even the prosecution and victim in a case have rights. “There are witnesses who are yet to be examined. Is there no right of the victim?” asked Justice Dere.

When the court said that prosecution should be given a fair chance to put forth its case, Kadam said: “Rights of prosecution can’t be elevated beyond what the law contemplates.”

Justice Dere pointed out that one of the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court while granting bail to Indrani was not to tamper with witnesses. However, Kadam insisted that this was not akin to tampering with witnesses and asked whether the CBI had read the book published by Indrani herself.

Heaven Are Not Going To Fall: Justice Dere

The senior advocate said that they have been promoting the series since January 28 and the CBI should have approached the court earlier. The judges, however, said that the trial in the case was still ongoing and statements of witnesses are being recorded. Earlier, the CBI had said that so far 89 witnesses out of 237 have been examined before the trial court.

“It [release of the series] can be deferred for a week... heavens are not going to fall,” Justice Dere said. Kadam then suggested that the judges too could view the series, to which Justice Dere said: “We should have the time to watch the series.”

The court then asked Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas and advocate Shreeram Shirsat, appearing for the CBI, to watch the series during the special screening. “What your [CBI] officer may think and perceive will be different from a law officer. You are an officer of the court. We are giving you an opportunity to view it,” Justice Dere said.

Kadam then made a statement that till the next hearing on February 29, the streaming platform will not release the docu-series. He also said five witnesses have been interviewed in the series, including Indrani’s son and (Sheena’s brother) Mikhail and Vidhie Mukerjea, Indrani and Peter Mukerjea’s daughter. Statements of three of these witnesses are yet to be recorded by the trial court.

About Sheena Bora Case:

Bora was allegedly strangled to death in a car by Indrani, her then driver Shyamvar Rai and former husband Sanjeev Khanna in April 2012. Bora was Indrani’s daughter from her previous relationship. Her body was burnt in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district. However, the murder came to light in 2015 after Rai revealed the killing following his arrest in another case.

Indrani was arrested in August 2015 and granted bail by the Supreme Court in May 2022. Other accused, including Peter Mukerjea, are also out on bail.

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