As investigators waddled through an intriguing web of lies and deceit in the Sheena Bora murder case, Mumbai Police on Friday took Sanjeev Khanna, a prime accused and former husband of co-accused Indrani Mukherjea, to the spot where the young woman was killed three years ago. Khanna later cracked and confessed to his role in the crime.
Police, acting on a court order, permitted Indrani to meet her lawyers while in custody, and officers again questioned former media baron Peter Mukherjea — Indrani’s husband — and the victim’s brother Mikhail, who, after flying into Mumbai from Guwahati, vowed to get justice for his murdered sister.
The probe picked up pace when Khanna, nabbed in Kolkata, was brought here and sent to police custody till August 31.
In a major breakthrough in the murder case, Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria told media persons late on Friday that Khanna has cracked and confessed to his role in the crime.
“(Indrani’s son) Mikhail Bora has submitted some evidence to us. We are in the process of verifying it,” Maria added.
Indrani was arrested on August 25 on charges of killing Sheena on April 24, 2012 along with her driver Shyam Rai and Khanna. She as well as Khanna have denied the charge.
Public Prosecutor Laxman Rathod said police needed to know how Sheena was killed, the vehicle in which she was allegedly murdered before her body was burnt and dumped in the forests near Pen in Raigad district, adjacent to Mumbai.
Seeking custodial interrogation, Rathod said police wanted to take the accused to where Indrani, her driver Shyam Rai and Khanna allegedly poured petrol on Sheena’s body and set it on fire. They also needed to know if more people were involved in the killing.
Khanna has been charged with murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, destroying evidence and more. His mobile phone, laptop and passport have been seized but he has denied the police charges.
Rathod told the media that Khanna played “an active role in the case along with the other two accused”.
According to police, the macabre deed was allegedly executed by Indrani with help from Khanna and driver Rai.
Police are also browsing the details of incriminating telephone call records of Khanna and Indrani, email exchanges, birth certificates, school records and other documents that have emerged during the investigation.
Rakesh Maria is personally conducting the interrogation of various players including Indrani, Khanna, Rai, Peter Mukherjea, his son Rahul, who admits to having had a relationship with Sheena, and Mikhail for the past three days.
Late on Thursday night, Maria said investigators have a fair idea of the motives behind Sheena’s killing.
After interrogation, Maria confirmed that Sheena was indeed the daughter of Indrani, contrary to earlier perceptions that they were siblings.
On Friday afternoon, Khanna was taken to the crime scene near Pen in Raigad district, around 95 km south of Mumbai, to recreate the crime scene.
Maria said skeletal remains of Sheena were recovered from the murder scene and they were being sent for forensic and DNA tests.
Mikhail, who arrived here from Guwahati on Friday, provided certain evidence pertaining to his sister’s killing which was now being verified.
During the investigation, it also came to light that Indrani’s claim of Sheena “studying in the US” was false.
Police have also recovered Sheena’s passport from Dehradun.
Meanwhile, the Sir J.J. Hospital handed over to police the bones, nails and other evidences of Sheena which was deposited by Raigad police after her body was found three years back.
Suggesting a pre-planned conspiracy, police have said Indrani had recceed Pen area with her driver to pick the exact spot to dispose of her body a day before the actual killing.
Mikhail Bora has said he knows the real reason his sister was murdered and that he will reveal it all at the appropriate time.
There are still more angles that need probing, including who was the unknown caller who tipped off Mumbai Police some time ago about the Sheena murder.
Then, there is the mystery of why, after Sheena’s death, letters on her behalf were sent to Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd. – where she worked – and her landlord.