Sheena Bora murder: SC grants bail to Indrani Mukerjea
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to former media executive Indrani Mukerjea, the main accused in the high-profile murder of her daughter, Sheena Bora, in 2012. The court ruled that Mukerjea's sentence of six-and-a-half years in prison was excessive. Mukerjea had in January filed the bail petition in the SC after the Bombay High Court denied her bail in the case.
- The high-profile case made headlines several times, especially in 2012, and 2015 (when Mukerjea was named as primary accused) and again in 2017, when the trial in the case began.
- Mukherjea's former driver, Shyamvar Rai, is one of the witnesses who has testified in the case before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
- Her bail applications on merits and medical reasons were repeatedly denied.
Mukerjea's driver was arrested in a different case in 2015, which led to the discovery of the murder, and later Bora's half-burned body was found in a forest outside Mumbai. Mukerjea reportedly objected to her daughter's relationship with the son of Peter Mukerjea, her second husband. The CBI eventually learned that she was strangled to death by Mukerjea and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna.
"Even if the 50 percent witnesses are given up by the prosecution, the trial would not be over soon. She is granted bail. She will be released on bail subject to satisfaction of the trial court," said a three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao citing the conditions imposed on Peter Mukerjea. However, it refrained from commenting on the merit of the case.
Mukerjea, who is now in Mumbai's Byculla women's jail, was represented by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi. The trial, according to Rohatgi, will not be completed anytime soon since a huge number of witnesses are yet to be interviewed. A special CBI court, hearing the murder case, had previously rejected her bail on several occasions.
Mukerjea's bail motion was dismissed by the Bombay High Court in November 2021. Later, she approached the SC for relief. She had filed a special leave plea (SLP) against the ruling of Justice Nitin Sambre's HC bench. "There is enough material on record to infer prima facie involvement of the applicant in the crime," the HC bench had ruled.
The trial in the case began in 2017 and the CBI filed several charge sheets against the accused. Nearly 67 witnesses have recorded their statements so far including Rai, and forensic experts. Indrani and Peter filed for divorce during the case trial and it was granted in October 2019. Mukerjea, meanwhile, had maintained that her daughter wasn't murdered and had gone abroad for education.