7 years in jail, Indrani Mukerjea was often in news, but not only for Sheena Bora’s death case

For nearly seven years since her arrest in 2015 for the alleged murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, former media executive Indrani Mukerjea was lodged at the Byculla women’s prison in Mumbai. In all these years since September 2015, Mukerjea remained one of the most high-profile prisoners of the jail and often found herself in the middle of controversies.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court granted Mukerjea bail the case involving her daughter Sheena Bora’s murder. Mukerjea is facing trial for allegedly killing Sheena on April 24, 2012.

For most part of her jail stint, Mukerjea remained lodged in a separate cells inside the prison. Within a month of her being lodged at the jail, Mukerjea had fallen unconscious and was rushed to state-run JJ Hospital. Authorities had then probed whether her condition was caused due to overdose of medicines prescribed to her but the same was subsequently ruled out. In 2018, she was rushed to the hospital twice due to ill health.

Indrani Mukerjea was also among the prisoners named by the police as a witness and as an accused in two separate cases linked to the death of prison inmate Manjula Shetye in 2017. Mukerjea was among the prisoners named as an accused on charges including rioting for their demand for an inquiry into Shetye’s death, claiming that she had died due to assault by the staffers. Mukerjea was also named as a witness in the chargesheet filed against the six prison staffers on charges of murder for Shetye’s death.

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During the pandemic, Mukerjea was among the inmates who tested positive for Covid-19. Her plea for an interim bail on the grounds of the pandemic was, however, rejected. Another plea by her against being made to wear a uniform in jail was also rejected by the special court last year. Indrani Mukerjea had moved court stating that she was being made to wear a green sari, usually worn by convicts.

Recently, Mukerjea claimed that a suspended Mumbai police officer, who was in jail in an alleged case of extortion, told her that she had seen Sheena Bora alive in June end/July 2021 while on a visit to Dal lake in Srinagar. The officer, Indrani claimed, told her that when she approached Sheena, who Indrani is accused of murdering, the woman told her that she had started a new life and did not wish to return to her old life. Mukerjea wrote to the CBI seeking a probe into this. The CBI called Mukerjea’s claim ‘imaginary’ and said that she was cooking up stories to benefit herself.

During her stay at the jail, Mukerjea was allowed to step out of the jail with police escort on a few other occasions apart from court hearings. In 2016, she was allowed to perform the last rites of her father at a hall in Mulund. In 2019, she was taken to the family court in Bandra to complete formalities for a divorce with Peter Mukerjea through mutual consent.