Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani Mukherjea walks out of Byculla Jail, says 'I am very happy'

“I am going home. I have no plans. Just want to go home,” Mukerjea said

Sherine RajUpdated: Friday, May 20, 2022, 10:35 PM IST
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Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani Mukherjea walks out of Byculla Jail, says 'I am very happy' | Photo: Salman Ansari

Mumbai: It was a lady in white, with jet-black hair and immaculate make-up, who emerged from the women’s jail in Byculla on Friday afternoon, 48 hours after the Supreme Court granted her bail. Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea, arrested in 2015 for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, walked out of jail around 5.30pm, smiling widely, waving at mediapersons, saying, “I’m happy to be out.”

“I learnt a lot in jail,” she said. “I am going home. I have no plans. Just want to go home,” Mukerjea said.

Asked if she blamed anyone for her incarceration, she spoke of empathy and forgiveness. “I have forgiven all the people who have hurt me. That’s all,” she said.

Mukerjea, accused of killing her daughter in 2012, was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, with the top court observing that she had been in custody for 6.5 years, which was ‘too long a time’, and that the trial was not likely to conclude soon even if the prosecution were to give up half of its witnesses. So far, 68 of the 237 witnesses have been examined.

The media had been keeping a vigil outside the jail from 11am, as Mukerjea’s lawyer Sana Raees Shaikh had informed the day before that Mukerjea would walk out around 12-12.30pm on Friday. However, the paperwork took longer than expected and it was close to 4pm when her lawyer dropped her release order into the box outside Byculla Jail.

The traffic on the road opposite the jail had slowed down to a crawl, with many passers-by stopping to ask who was being released, as a veritable camera-toting media company thronged the spot.

An hour-and-a half after her lawyer reached the jail, Mukerjea came out, clad in a white salwar-kameez, looking picture-perfect, stepped into her lawyer’s car, smiled and waved at the media, who had been waiting for almost six hours just to capture this moment. She was driven to her Worli flat.

“My faith in judiciary is restored. All should respect laws of the country. There may be delay but there is justice,” she told reporters outside her residence.

“I am very happy. There are no other emotions now. I am feeling very free,” she said.

Mukerjea said she was writing a book but it wouldn’t be about her jail stint, she added.

“I have seen life through a different lens,” she said.

Asked if she still believed Sheena Bora is alive, Indrani said, “I won’t talk about it now. Whatever I have to say, I will say in court.”

“When I came home this evening, I found it decorated,” she said.

The apex court had said that the conditions of the bail would be finalised by the special CBI court that is presiding over the trial in the Sheena Bora case.

The special CBI court had, on Thursday, granted her two weeks to furnish a solvent surety of Rs 2 lakh. Her advocate had requested the court to keep the bail amount at Rs 1 lakh, citing financial difficulties, contending that Mukerjea was a woman who had been behind bars for almost seven years.

The special judge also imposed a set of other conditions for Mukerjea’s bail besides furnishing a surety of Rs 2 lakh within two weeks.

The CBI court has directed Mukerjea to surrender her passport before the court and directed her not to leave India without permission. She has also been directed not to contact any of the witnesses in the case or tamper with evidence while out on bail.

She has been asked to attend the trial hearings in the case without seeking any adjournments. She has also been asked to scrupulously observe the conditions imposed on her by the Supreme Court.

“If there is any breach of the above conditions, the prosecution shall be at the liberty to apply for cancellation of (Mukerjea's) bail,” said the CBI judge in his order.

Although the bail order was passed by the CBI court, the formality of depositing cash could not be completed on Thursday, as the cash department at the sessions court shut early due to vacation, resulting in Mukerjea spending an extra night in jail on Thursday.

Sheena Bora, 24, was killed sometime in April 2012, according to the investigators, but the crime only came to light three years later, with the arrest of Mukerjea’s former driver, Shyamvar Rai, for the 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.

Rai claimed that Indrani, then wife of media baron Peter Mukerjea, had strangled her daughter Sheena in a car, with the help of her former husband Sanjeev Khanna.

Four days later, police arrested Indrani Mukerjea and Khanna. Mukerjea maintained that she was being falsely implicated in the case.

Mumbai Police claimed that Bora, her daughter from an earlier relationship, was killed by Mukerjea and Khanna in a car being driven by Rai, and the body was buried in a forest in 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, 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.

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