CBI arrests Peter Mukherjea, chargesheets Indrani

November 19, 2015 06:41 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:04 pm IST - Mumbai/New Delhi:

A file photo of Indrani Mukherjee being produced at Esplanade court in Mumbai.

A file photo of Indrani Mukherjee being produced at Esplanade court in Mumbai.

Did Peter Mukherjea know?

The question that had stumped law enforcement authorities since the August 25 arrest of his wife and former television network owner, Indrani Mukherjea, for allegedly murdering daughter Sheena Bora, was answered on Thursday night. According to law enforcement authorities, he knew.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested the former media magnate under the same sections of the IPC as his wife and other accused: Sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 34 (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating and forgery), 364 (kidnapping) and 120-B (conspiracy). His is the fourth arrest in the case after those of Indrani, their driver Shyamvar Rai, and Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna in the sensational murder case.

Mukherjea will be produced in court on Friday, when the CBI will ask for his custody to interrogate him on the inconsistencies in his statements and those of the others in the case. A supplementary charge sheet will be added after the questioning. “Based on the case investigation officer’s opinion, Peter has been arrested as his custodial interrogation had become necessary to seek clarifications from him on several issues,” a CBI official said.

Mukherjea’s arrest concluded a day that was gripped with drama just as Sheena’s murder, allegedly committed in April 2012, but made public with the arrest of Rai on August 21, 2015, had gripped the nation. It was dramatic for three reasons: one, it involved one of India’s most flamboyant media owners; two, by the sheer nature of the crime — a kidnapping followed by strangulation and burning of the body, and later the body’s disposal in the hilly forests of Raigad district near Mumbai; and three, by the shocking revelation by Indrani’s son Mikhail that Sheena was not her sister but daughter.

Thursday was no less dramatic. Hours before Mukherjea’s arrest, the forensic examination conducted on the remains found in Raigad confirmed that they were indeed those of Sheena. Earlier in the day, the CBI filed a 1,000-page charge sheet that reportedly includes statements by seven witnesses under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and adds a new charge: poisoning. Some new sections of the Information Technology Act have also been invoked. “Based on the findings so far, we had to file the charge sheet within the stipulated time period of 90 days,” a CBI official said.

The arrest of Indrani led to a series of events that culminated in the transfer of Mumbai’s high-profile Police Commissioner, Rakesh Maria, who himself conducted her interrogation. The interrogation eventually led to the transfer Mr. Maria, a change of guard in Mumbai Police, and on September 29, the case was transferred to the CBI.

An executive of Mumbai Metro, Sheena, 24, went missing on April 24, 2012, and the local police in Raigad found her remains almost a month later on May 23 when villagers in Pen tehsil complained of a foul smell emanating from the crime scene inside the forest. Unable to identify the body, the local police sent the remains to J.J. Hospital in Mumbai.

During the course of the investigation, the driver allegedly confessed to the police that it was Indrani who had planned the murder and had got Khanna involved to kill her daughter. Police sources said Rai had described to them the sequence of events of April 24, a day on which Indrani, along with Khanna and Rai picked up Sheena from Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai, and that Khanna later strangled her to death in one of the bylanes of Bandra. The body was taken to Indrani’s Worli home for a day where it was stuffed into a bag and kept in the boot of the car. The next morning, the driver had allegedly confessed, the three kept Sheena’s body in between Khanna and Indrani in the rear seat and drove to Raigad where they put it back into a bag, poured petrol on it, and set it on fire on a hilly incline. They returned to Mumbai, and continued life as usual for 40 months.

From the Internet Desk:

Here is a look at the main players involved in the murder case.

Sheena Bora
The cast

Indrani Mukherjea (43): Founder of the INX media network

Peter Mukherjea (59): Former CEO of Star TV and husband of Indrani Mukherjea since 2002

Sheena Bora (24 at the time of death): Indrani’s daughter who was introduced to Peter as her sister.

Mikhail Bora: Indrani’s son

Siddhartha Das: Father of Sheena and Mikhail

Rahul Mukherjea: Son of Peter from a previous marriage

Sanjeev Khanna: Businessman and former husband of Indrani

Shyamvar Pinturam Rai: Indrani’s driver

Indrani Mukherjea
The crime

A Timeline of events:

November 19, 2015: CBI arrests Peter Mukherjea along with filing charge sheets against Indrani, ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamvar Rai the driver.

October 7, 2015: Indrani discharged from hospital,doctors confirmed drug overdose.

October 2, 2015: Indrani Mukherjea admitted in JJ Hospital after she allegedly overdosed on anti-epileptic pills.

September 19, 2015: Maharashtra announces the handover of the case to CBI.

September 9, 2015: Peter Mukherjea reveals to Khar police that Indrani often abused him.

September 7, 2015: Body of Sheena Bora found in Raigad forest.

September 5, 2015: The police custody extended again till September 7.

September 3, 2015: Indrani Mukherjea confessed her role in the murder.

September 1, 2015: Siddharth Das confessed that he is the biological father of Sheena and Mikhail Bora.

August 31, 2015: Fresh charges filed against Indrani attempting to kill her son. Police custody of the three accussed extended till September 5, 2015.

August 30, 2015: The three arrested were taken to the crime scene in Raigad. The call records were also checked by the police.

August 29, 2015: Maharashtra Police has ordered a probe into why the Raigad Police did not register an Accidental Death Report (ADR) after they found a burnt corpse, suspected to be of Sheena Bora, in 2012.

August 28, 2015: Sanjeev Khanna confessed to his "complicity in the crime." He had earlier said that, Sheena’s body was lying next to him in a car in which they were travelling together in Mumbai on April 24, 2012.

August 27, 2015: Sheena Shyam Rai, Indrani's driver, confessed that he murdered Sheena and disposed of her body, on the direction of his employer Indrani Mukherjea.

August 27, 2015: Sanjeev Khanna, a Kolkata based businessman and ex-husband of Indrani Mukherjea was arrested from Kolkata.

August 26, 2015: Indrani opened up that Sheena was her daughter from a previous marriage and not sister as maintained.

August 21, 2015: Shyamvar Pinturam Rai is arrested following the seizure of a 7.63-bore pistol from him.

May 23, 2012: Police find a decomposed body after villagers at Gagode in Pen tehsil, Maharashtra, complain of foul odour.

April 24, 2012: Sheena Bora takes a leave of absence from work at Mumbai Metro. On the same day she sends a resignation letter to her employer. She is not heard from again. No missing complaint is ever lodged by any family member.

Peter Mukherjea and his wife Indrani Mukherjea
The confessions:

Shyamvar: Discloses that he, Indrani and Khanna, strangulated Sheena inside a car on April 24, 2012. The car with the body inside is parked in Peter’s garage till the next day when the body is burnt and dumped.

Mikhail Bora: Says he knows the “exact reason” for which his sister was murdered and reveals that Sheena was Indrani’s daughter and not sister as had been made public.

Indrani: Accepts that Sheena was her daughter.

Peter: Says he never knew Sheena was Indrani’s daughter but knew that she was in a relationship with Rahul, and that his wife disapproved of the relationship.

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