MUMBAI/KOLKATA: In a plot that Mumbai police themselves likened to a Bollywood masala movie, it emerged that Indrani Mukherjea, estranged wife of former Star India CEO Peter Mukherjea, murdered Sheena Bora — who was her daughter.
Initial reports that Sheena, allegedly killed at Indrani’s behest, was her sister, fell flat on Wednesday after Indrani confessed to the police that Sheena was born to her out of wedlock. Indrani’s second husband Peter Mukerjea added to the intrigue, saying Sheena was dating his son Rahul.
The plot thickened as sleuths, simultaneously questioning Indrani’s ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna in Kolkata, revealed that he had a hand in Sheena’s murder. Forty-four-year-old Indrani was arrested on Tuesday night along with her driver Shyam Manohar Rai for killing Sheena in 2012 and disposing of her body. The murder came to light after Rai spilled the beans during police interrogation in another case.
Rai revealed that he had killed Sheena and burnt her body at Pen, about 60 km from Mumbai. As there was no missing person complaint regarding Sheena, the police took a month to verify what Rai had told them. They arrested Indrani and Rai after the Raigad Police found bones at the place indicated by Rai.
Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said Rai confessed that Khanna and he had killed Sheena on April 24, 2012. “They strangulated her and burnt the body with petrol. The Raigad Police had found remains of the body on May 23, 2012, but were clueless on whose body it was,” he said.
Meanwhile, Peter told a news channel that he was unaware that Sheena, 24 when she died, was Indrani’s daughter. He claimed Indrani told him that she had sent Sheena to US because she was in a relationship with Rahul, his son from his first marriage.
In Kolkata, police grilled Khanna and arrested him on charges of aiding Indrani. He was taken to the Alipore police station in one of the posh areas of the city, where he was placed under arrest after he made contradictory statements.
After the Mumbai police arrived in the city at 8 a.m. they first went to the home of Sanjeev Khanna’s relative but he had fled from there.
The Kolkata police then found that he was hiding at his friend’s home at Alipore. During interrogation, Khanna at first did not cooperate but later police found contradictions in his statements, confirming their belief that he had aided Indrani in the murder. Khanna was lodged at the Lalbazar lockup.
The Mumbai police will take remand of Khanna after producing him at the Alipore Court on Thursday and take him to Mumbai.
One of Sanjeev’s businessman friends Ajay Rawla said, “Sanjeev has been my friend for several decades. His marriage with Indrani broke up long ago. They also had a daughter named Nidhi.” However, he could not recall where Nidhi was now.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Metro has stated that Sheena, who was murdered, worked as an Assistant Manager with them.
“She took leave of absence on 24th April, 2012 and while she was on leave, she sent in her written resignation,” a statement issued by Mumbai Metro read.
The motive behind the murder is still unclear, with police saying that after Sheena became involved with Rahul, she started ignoring Indrani which may have led to the murder. Indrani’s son Mikhail has claimed that he knew the true motive, but he would reveal it only if she doesn’t confess it to police.
Indrani was born and brought up in Guwahati. She would have frequent rave parties in Shillong, Meghalaya as a teen, said sources. That was how he came to know tea baron Siddhartha Das, whose father was a well-known businessman from Guwhati having businesses in Assam and West Bengal.
After marrying Das, she shifted to Kolkata. Das was forced to marry her as she had two children with him when she was in her teens.
Indrani, during her stay in Kolkata, had a high-profile lifestyle, attending parties and moving among the elite.Police on Wednesday learnt that even after her first marriage with Das and after she was married to Khanna, she had a string of affairs.