Top cop Maria joins day long grilling in Sheena murder case

Last Updated 27 August 2015, 14:36 IST

Fresh murky details emerged in the sensational Sheen Bora murder case as Mumbai's top cop Rakesh Maria today grilled her mother and main suspect Indrani, her driver and step son Rahul Mukherjea while her son Mikhail was questioned in Guwahati and her former husband in Kolkata.

However, the motive behind the murder remained a mystery even as the driver S P Rai and Sanjeev Khanna, a former husband of Indrani Mukherjea, are believed to have told police that Indrani, wife of former Star CEO Peter Mukherjea, had done a recce of the place where the body was to be dumped a day before the murder on April 24, 2012.

Khanna, who had divorced Indrani, is believed to have told the Mumbai police in Kolkata that he was in the car in which Sheena was allegedly strangulated but claims to have had no role in the crime.

This apparently contradicted the arrested driver's claim before police that Indrani and Khanna had strangulated Sheena in the car after giving her a spiked drink in a hotel room in Mumbai.

Then the body was taken to Pen in Raigad taluk where it was burnt with petrol. Khanna had reportedly come to Mumbai on April 23, 2012, a day before the murder and took a flight back to Kolkata on February 25, according to police sources.

In a murder in which intriguing relationships have come to surface with Indrani claiming Sheena as her sister, television channels showed the purported birth certificate of the victim.

The document records her as daughter of Upendra Kumar Bora and Durga Rani Bora, who are actually her grandparents, i.e., the parents of Indrani. Her date of birth has been given as February 11, 1989.

For the second time in less than 12 hours, Rahul Mukerjea, son of Indrani's current husband Peter Mukerjea through another marriage, was questioned by police case as he was in a relationship with her step sister. Indrani and Peter had reportedly opposed the affair.

With the case turning murkier, Maria was himself involved in the investigation being conducted in Khar police station in suburban Mumbai.

Though the investigators are yet to reach definite conclusions on the motive of the murder, all angles including Indrani's dislike towards Sheena's alleged relationship with Rahul.

With the arrest of Khanna and his suspected presence in the city on the day of the murder, police are looking into financial angle as well, police sources said.

The investigators are also planning to question officials of Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), where 24-year-old Sheena was working as an assistant manager since June 20, 2011.

Rahul was quizzed late last night by the police. According to police officials, Rahul was again grilled about his 'relationship' with Sheena and also over the reasons for not pursuing the missing complaint about her.

He was also taken to two flats in suburban Bandra and Khar where he had allegedly spent some time with Sheena when they were seeing each other, they said.

Rahul and Sheena were said to have been dating for over a year, which Indrani did not like.

Police are also planning to seek details from Mumbai Metro One Pvt Limited, where she had worked since 2011 till the day of her disappearance.

Sheena had taken leave of absence on April 24, 2012, and, while she was on leave, sent in her written resignation, MMOPL had said yesterday in its statement.

Meanwhile, Indrani's lawyer moved an application in the local metropolitan magistrate's court in Bandra seeking home food, clothes and permission to meether in custody.

The court later directed the prosecutor to file his reply in the application and adjourned it till tomorrow.

In Guwahati, a Mumbai police team visited the maternal home of Indrani and talked to Sheena's brother Mikhail, who claimed to have evidence in the case.

However, Mikhail, who spoke to the media yesterday and this morning, clammed up after the police officials left the house.

A Mumbai police official in plainsclothes and a constable accompanied by Assam Police personnel arrived at house No 8 at Sundarpur Byelane One in Ganeshguri area to investigate into the murder case.

"It is a sensitive case. Investigation is on," said a Mumbai Police official to waiting journalists on way to the house.

He, however, declined to answer any more questions by reporters when he emerged from the house after about an hour.

Mikhail himself came out about half an hour after the police officer left to leave in his car with two friends.

Questioned if he was summoned to Dispur police station, Mikhail flashed an envelope and said "I am going to the hospital" and then drove away.

Mikhail had yesterday and today told the media that he has evidence on the murder of Sheena.

Earlier in the morning, Mikhail told newsmen outside the house, where he lives with his maternal grandparents, that he feared he would be the next target.

"If the police summons me to Mumbai, I want my friends to accompany me as the Mukherjeas are very high-profile and anything can happen to me. It is a sensitive case".
He said he has kept all the evidence like photographs and conversations. "I will give them to the police if they want."

"What is the actual motive for killing Sheena only Indrani knows. Other people can only assume. Sheena is my elder sister and I want justice for her," he said.

"If police comes to our house here, I will cooperate with them in all possible ways to bring out the truth about my sister's murder.

"It will not be possible for me to go to Mumbai for the investigations as I have to take care of my maternal grandparents who are both in their eighties and suffer from dementia."

He, however, said he could go to Mumbai only if the police or the government took the responsibility of his grandparents who are yet to be told about Sheena's killing allegedly by Indrani Mukerjea.

To more questions, he said "I was not silent regarding my sister. I had called her phone number many times. I had repeatedly asked Indrani where is my sister Sheena but she did not reply".

"Indrani had asked me to leave my aged grandparents in an old age home in Kolkata and take up a job there. When I refused, she told me that she will stop giving us money for our upkeep.

"For the last five-six months, she has not sent any money", he said.

Mikhail also claimed that when Indrani came here last time she had wanted him to give his PAN card and bank details but he had flatly refused.

Meanwhile, a Maharashtra Home department official said the government has not received any "definite information" suggesting lapses in investigation on the part of police officials when Sheena's murder took place.

He was referring to reports that Pen police has not kept any records of Sheena's body which had been found by villagers or else an inquiry into the murder could have been made easier.

"We do not think that there is any definite information on this. The chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis) is in Delhi now. We will wait for a day before coming to any conclusion," an official from the Home department told PTI, requesting anonymity.

Police had unearthed remains of a decomposed body three years ago after villagers at Gagode in Pen tehsil complained of foul odour emanating from the area.

It was only after the arrest of Indrani's driver Rai recently in a case of Arms Act that the shocking details of the brutal murder and layers of deceit and lies involved started unfolding.

Sheena had come to Mumbai from Assam in 1990s along with her mother and graduated in Economics from the prestigious St Xavier's College.

Police had unearthed remains of a decomposed body three years ago after villagers at Gagode in Pen tehsil complained of foul smell emanating from the area.

Police also claimed that 43-year-old Indrani was present at the site in Raigad district where Sheena was killed. Now, they are also probing the honour killing angle.

Peter had yesterday expressed shock that Sheena was Indrani's daughter and that it was not revealed to him by his wife. 

(Published 27 August 2015, 14:15 IST)

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