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Ex-Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea’s wife Indrani and the shocking tale of a murder

MUMBAI: The arrest of Indrani Mukerjea, wife of former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, and subsequent revelations have turned  the murder of Sheena Bora into a ghastly scandal, full of twists and turns that could very well be just out of a bestselling crime potboiler.

At the centre of the murky plot is Indrani. The other characters include a driver who killed for his boss, a dead body recovered after three years, a twist of step brother–sister dating, a second ex-husband, now arrested for his alleged part in crime, and overall the current husband, who did not know anything.

The biggest surprise—Sheena was Indrani’s daughter and not sister, a daughter from her first husband and introduced in Mumbai as Indrani’s sister by the Mukerjeas.

Peter and IndraniEven Peter never knew that Sheena was Indrani’s daughter. On top of that, Rahul Mukerjea, Peter’s son from his earlier wedlock, started dating Sheena.

Indrani also had a son, Mikhail, from her first husband (whose identity we still do not know).

It is now clear that Sheena and her brother were raised by Indrani’s parents in Guwahati. Sheena later came to live with her mother and Peter in Mumbai to study at St Xavier’s, and started dating Rahul. Both Peter and Indrani were apparently against this relationship.

Media reports quoted Police sources as saying that Sheena was last seen alive in a car with Indrani, her second husband Sanjeev Khanna, and driver Shyam Rai. The reports also suggest that as per the police investigation, the young woman was first strangled and then her body, smothered in petrol, was set on fire.

Incidentally, police got the first leads on the case four months back and were quietly building the case.

The facts are stranger than fiction. Here are some of them:

Sheena Bora was born to a teenager Indrani.

In 2012, when she went missing, Sheena was supposedly 24 years old. As Indrani is now 43 years old, it means Sheena was conceived when Indrani was 15. Reason for Indrani to hide the truth?

Indrani introduces daughter Sheena as sister. Mikhail claims to know why his sister was killed.

Mikhail told news service ANI that when the brother–sister duo met Peter in 2005 in Kolkata, Indrani was hesitant to accept them as her kids. “She [Indrani] told us that she lived in a high-profile society and it would give her a bad name. So she introduced us as her siblings,” Mikhail told ANI. He now also claims that his mother had told him that Sheena had settled in the US and did not want him to contact her.

He told PTI that he knows the ‘exact reason’, but will reveal it on 31 August if his mother does not confess. “I believe our mother killed my sister. I know the exact reason of the murder and it is not the ones that are being told to the media. If she does not (confess), then I will do whatever is necessary,” he said.

Incidentally, in a longer interview, Bora told CNN-IBN that he had asked a friend of Sheena’s for some way to get in touch with her, but was told that she was not in the US. When he asked Indrani, he was told that Sheena was abroad. He said that he had stopped asking questions about Sheena since he was dependent on funds from Indrani to take care of his ailing grandparents.

Arrest of Indrani’s ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna

Indrani’s second husband Sanjeev Khanna was also arrested by Mumbai Police in Kolkata on Wednesday. A resident of Hastings Road area in the southern part of the city, he was arrested from his friend’s flat in Alipore for his alleged involvement in the murder of Sheena, Kolkata Police Joint CP (Crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh told reporters.

“Mumbai Police approached us for help in arresting Khanna who was initially untraceable. Then he was found from his friend’s flat on Pen Road in Alipore area and arrested,” Ghosh said.

Khanna was in Alay Rawly’s house when he was arrested. Rawly told Mumbai Mirror that his friend continued to maintain contact with his estranged wife because their daughter, Vidhi, lived with Indrani.

According to Mumbai Mirror, Khanna owns a resort named Bawali in 24-Paragnas.

Peter was ‘always in the dark’

Peter has maintained that he was unaware of the fact that Sheena was Indrani’s daughter. He claimed that he hardly knew anyone from Indrani’s family and that even their marriage was attended by only one person from her side.

A ‘shocked’ Peter Mukerjea told the Times of India that he has never experienced anything like this before. “The news I am getting, the kind of crime that has been committed, I would have never expected. Whatever help, information, police need, I am happy to help them with that. I would be absolutely clear and straight with them and cooperate,” TOI quoted Peter.

“I don’t understand at all with regard to my wife… Sheena Bora is her sister, I believed all these years, and now I am being told that she was her daughter. I was aware of one marriage and not so many others. So, now there are number of things that are appearing to me which are completely new to me,” he said.

Sheena–Rahul dating

Rahul and SheenaBoth Peter and Mikhail have confirmed that Rahul and Sheena were dating and that Indrani and Peter were against the relationship.

“My son at one time was in a relationship with Sheena. He told me Sheena is not her sister, she is Indrani’s daughter. I told him that look, it is not true. Indrani has told me that she is her sister. I believed my wife, so much so that it created a rift between me and my son. I have not spoken to him for last three years,” Peter Mukerjea told TOI.

Body missing and Indrani says Sheena is studying in the US

Indrani lied to the family that Sheena was studying in the US. Since the murder took place in 2012, for three years this was believed.

What did Peter believe? “When she disappeared in 2012, I was told that she was studying in the US. I asked Indrani and she showed me pictures of Sheena at a Diwali function there,” Mukerjea told CNN-IBN.

What did Mikhail say? When he asked his mother about his sister, he received vague answers. “She always replied she was abroad. She said she (Sheena) had got a job there,” he told Times Now.

Indrani and Peter Mukerjea had married in 2002 when Peter was CEO at Star India and she was running her HR consultancy services.

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Former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea’s wife Indrani arrested on murder charges