A court here on Monday extended till September 5 the police custody of Indrani Mukherjea and two others accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012.
And in a fresh development, police also charged Indrani with conspiring to kill her son Mikhail around the time she allegedly strangled and burnt her daughter with the help of her driver Shyamvar Rai and her ex-husband, Sanjeev Khanna.
Indrani, wife of former media baron Peter Mukherjea, briefly fainted in the Bandra court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S.M. Chandgade as the public prosecutor argued that her custody and those of the other two be extended.
Vidhie, Indrani’s other daughter from Khanna, broke down after seeing her mother in the court.
Indrani is accused of killing Sheena in a moving car with the help of Khanna and Rai en route from Bandra here to a forested region of Raigad, some 95 from Mumbai, on April 24, 2012.
Sheena’s body was later allegedly doused with petrol, set on fire and buried in the area.
Indrani, 47, as well as her former driver Rai, 43, and ex-husband Khanna, 50, were in the court room when the ruling came.
All three were later driven to the lock-up in Khar police station where Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria and other officers reached to continue their interrogation.
Police are expected to question them jointly and individually to unravel the murder motive, the suspected involvement of others, a possible money angle, how the murder was planned on Skype, and other aspects.
The public prosecutor said investigators suspect the involvement of some others outside Maharashtra in the murder and so Indrani, Rai and Khanna needed to be questioned further.
Police also wanted to ascertain where the accused dumped the victim’s clothes, mobile phone and other belongings after the killing, the court was told.
Khanna’s lawyer H. Mundergi argued that police were only awaiting the reports of the forensic tests, and there was no need to extend his police custody.
Indrani’s lawyer Gunjan Mangla alleged that police were using pressure tactics to force a confession from her and that she was allegedly slapped while in custody.
He also said that Indrani had been interrogated for around 90 hours since her arrest here on August 25 and there was no need to question her any more.
Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Vidhi (in black) arrives at Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Mumbai Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Vidhi (in black) arrives at Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Mumbai
Giving details of the investigation report, the court was told that police had visited the victim’s office and seized her passport.
While Indrani had claimed that Sheena had gone off to the US, the passport was found from her boyfriend Rahul Mukherjea’s mother’s house in Dehradun.
Police have found the remains suspected to be of Sheena, which have been sent for DNA tests and forensic analysis. These are expected this week.
Among the other discoveries are a can in which petrol was bought to douse the victim before setting her ablaze, and details from the four checkposts between Mumbai and Raigad through which the vehicle passed that night with Sheena’s body.
Praying for extension of police custody, the prosecutor said personal effects of the accused needed to be seized.
Police are also probing if a contract was given out to a professional hitman to have Mikhail Bora killed.
Sheena’s remains were found on May 23, 2012 by a local resident.
Raigad Superintendent of Police Mohammed Suvez Haque is probing the lapses of his predecessors as they failed to register an accident or crime case.