The defence of former media baron Indrani Mukerjea, accused of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, took a big blow on Friday after Mukerjea’s driver Shyamwar Rai told a court that Indrani wanted to kill both her children, Sheena and Mikhail.
Rai, who turned approver in the case, implicated Indrani as one of the main players in the crime along with her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna in the special CBI court.
However, Rai did not name Indrani’s husband Peter Mukerjea when narrating how Sheena was murdered.
Rai, who is still in custody in a case registered with Khar police for illegal possession of arms as well as the Sheena murder case, was brought to court under heavy security. Indrani, her husband Peter Mukerjea and Khanna were also brought to court.
Rai stuck to his confession statement and told the court about the time he joined Indrani and Peter as a driver before becoming Indrani’s close confidant.
Rai narrated the details about how Indrani tricked Sheena to accompany her in the car, how she strangulated her, and how she also tried to eliminate Mikhail by spiking his drink at her bungalow, Marlow, at Worli.
Sheena was killed allegedly in 2012, but the case came to light only in 2015 after Rai’s arrest.
Rai had earlier given police a detailed account of how Indrani, along with Khanna conspired to eliminate Sheena, and how the three of them executed the plot.
He said Indrani contacted him towards the end of March 2012. He said Indrani spoke to him on Skype and revealed her plans to eliminate Sheena and Mikhail and asked for his help.
He said Indrani wanted to kill both of them because they were maligning her image and threatened to expose the truth that she was their mother and not their sister as she had been claiming.
Indrani also mentioned that there were property issues as well and she was against Sheena’s relationship with her stepbrother, Peter’s son Rahul.
In one of the statements recorded on September 6, 2015, Rai said that on the evening of April 24, 2012 — the day of the murder — at around 4pm, Indrani asked him to take her to Bandra.
“In the car, she told me Sheena demanded a three-bedroom-hall-kitchen in Pali Hill, a car and a diamond ring from Moti Mahal. Indrani said she had promised to gift Sheena the ring on that day. It was only because of this Sheena agreed to meet her, Indrani told me,” reads Rai’s statement.
Rai gave a detailed account of how they picked up Sheena and took her to a remote place in Bandra where the three of them strangulated her. Immediately after the murder, Indrani asked him to drive towards Taj Lands End, a hotel.
Contrary to the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) claim that Peter knew about the murder conspiracy and was in touch with Indrani constantly around the time of Sheena’s death, Rai said he had heard Indrani speak to Peter only once in that period.
He said that a day before Sheena was killed, Indrani and he conducted a recce in Raigad for a place to dispose of the bodies.
Rai, who deposed in Hindi, said he heard Indrani speak to Peter only once, in English, and remembered just one line from the conversation – “It is a good place”.
However, in a previous statement to police, Rai had said that as far as he could remember, Indrani had telephoned Peter twice while conducting the recce in Raigad.
The CBI claims in the charge sheet that Indrani was in constant touch with Peter, who was well aware of the conspiracy.