It is one of India’s most sensational and unsolved murder cases. Married to media tycoon Peter Mukerjea, top media executive Indrani Mukerjea had the perfect life until dramatic events unfolded in 2015 when one after the other, the couple was arrested on charges of allegedly conspiring, killing, and disposing the body of Indrani’s daughter, Sheena Bora. Sheena, 25, was allegedly strangled to death in a car and her body was burnt and dumped in a forest.
The high-profile case caught the public imagination when her former driver — also an accused turned approver — was caught trying to dispose of a weapon which he claimed Indrani gave him. Investigating agency CBI says Sheena’s relationship with Peter’s son which Indrani disapproved of and a financial dispute made Indrani hatch the conspiracy.
The couple were involved in another scandal, the INX media scam. In her statement Indrani claimed that senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti had demanded a million dollars from them, she admitted to bribing Karti Chidambaram after turning an approver in the case.
After more than six years in jail, Indrani is now out on bail and claims in a startling disclosure that Sheena could be alive.
Indrani has released a book ‘Unbroken,’ and in this interview with Gulf News has some damning allegations against her now ex-husband Peter. She speaks with Jyotsna Mohan.
Q: For someone who had it all, in your opinion how did you end up in jail?
A: It was very clearly designed that I ought to be arrested the day before my younger daughter’s 18th birthday. That is a given and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind about that, but I think it could have been a softer blow if so desired than an accusation of filicide because I don’t think people behind it thought I would survive prison beyond 15 days.
It is a bit shocking isn’t it that on the day you get arrested your husband isn’t really running around trying to get you out and hands a letter to the building society saying please stop flat transfer. I think that is a most telling incident.
Q: Are you finger pointing at the Mukerjeas?
A: It is not about finger pointing at the Mukerjeas, I have said it very clearly in my book though I do not have solid evidence to validate what I am saying but I am not shy to say that it is my opinion that Peter definitely knew that I was going to be arrested.
Q: You are out on bail, does that bother you that you can go back in anytime again?
A: No, it doesn’t because I know that I am not going to go back in. I am very sure about that.
Q: You claimed sensationally that Sheena is alive. What would you say to her if she turned up in front of you and what do you think she would say to you?
A: I have neither sensationally nor un-sensationally ever claimed that Sheena is alive. Let me first clarify that. It is not my claim neither is it my legal team’s claim.
There have been other people who have sighted her which is more than one person who have claimed this. As a mother I never felt she is not there anymore. But if you ask me if I have met her or had any contact with her since 2012 since she disappeared, no I have not.
Q: Why would Sheena not turn up publicly seeing as you mention a close bond, why would she not turn up seeing your predicament?
A: That is an answer I cannot give you. That is an answer if and wherever Sheena is, if she is alive … I have asked this question several times to myself and thought to myself that if she is alive why is she not coming out and honestly, I don’t have an answer to it.
Q: In your book you speak about being a victim of extreme violence by your father. My question is that it is to the same father you left Sheena and your son. Isn’t there some dissonance there? If a man can harm you, he can harm your children as well?
A: This decision was at an age when I was barely 19 and decided to leave home. At that point I needed to survive. I do not know honestly if the answer is, was it a selfish move? At that age I could not bear to live under the same roof as my father. Nor did I have the resources to support my children.
Q: What is your relationship with your daughter Vidhe who wrote a book ‘Devil’s Daughter’ and told me once that she had forgiven you?
A: While I was in prison Vidhe was also alone outside and she was made to write that book, her literary agent is known to Peter and every chapter Vidhe wrote went to Peter or it was written by whoever.
Her manuscript had come to my lawyers, my response was let it come out because the fun was going to be after it comes out and for me to say she was made to write this book and it is all rubbish.
Q: If you could do anything differently, what would it be?
A: I would not have married Peter.