Sheena case: Peter Mukerjea charged with murder

Mumbai: A special CBI court here on Friday sent former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea to CBI custody till Monday as the agency charged him with the murder of his stepdaughter Sheena Bora.

Mukerjea was arrested late on Thursday evening in connection with the sensational 2012 Sheena Bora murder case.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, seeking Mukherjea’s remand, said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) “wanted to interrogate him on his involvement in the conspiracy hatched to kill Sheena Bora” and that he was in continuous touch with his wife Indrani – a prime accused in the case – before, during and after the murder.

Besides the Mukerjea couple, Indrani’s ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamwar Rai are also accused in the case.

The CBI has charged Peter under the same sections of law slapped on the other three prime accused, who were arrested in August and are currently in judicial custody till December 3.

The charges include those of kidnapping, murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and attempt to murder.

However, the motive behind Sheena Bora’s killing is not yet clear.

The CBI remand application brought forth a new inheritance angle, besides financial, as one of the factors that triggered the crime and accused Peter Mukerjea of playing an active role along with Indrani in the murder.

Referring to the conspiracy, the remand plea mentioned how Khanna allegedly dissuaded Indrani from killing her son Mikhail Bora – Sheena’s brother – the same night as it would be difficult to handle two dead bodies simultaneously.

After Indrani learnt that Peter Mukerjea’s son from a previous marriage, Rahul, was engaged to Sheena in Dehradun in 2011, she was worried that they would be entitled to a share in inheritance in Peter Mukerjea’s wealth ever though he had already made a will in favour of Vidhie, her daughter through Khanna.

However, the defence counsel argued that at the time of Sheena’s murder, Peter Mukerjea was in London and merely speaking on phone did not amount to conspiring in the crime. He also said Peter did not have any financial dealings with Sheena, so there was no motive for the crime.

Earlier on Friday, Additional Metropolitan Magistrate R.V. Adone extended the judicial custody of Indrani, Khanna and Rai till December 3.

The court also committed the case to the CBI special court for hearing.

According to investigators, Sheena Bora, 24, an employee with a private company in Mumbai, was allegedly strangulated in a car on the night of April 24, 2012.

Her body was taken in the vehicle to an isolated spot in the forest near Gagode village in adjacent Raigad district, around 80 km south of Mumbai.

The accused poured petrol on Sheena’s body and set it afire and dumped her half-burnt remains in the thick bushes from where these were found on May 23, 2012, by a local villager.

However, at that time, the Raigad police failed to register a complaint in the case and the matter is being investigated separately.

Nearly three years after the killing, forensic and other tests confirmed that the human remains found in the forest were indeed of Sheena Bora.