Woman accused of murdering daughter out on bail

Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea walked out of a Mumbai jail on bail last Friday, nearly seven years after being arrested for allegedly murdering her daughter.

The sensational case, centred on Indrani and then-husband Peter Mukerjea - a former chief executive of then-Fox-owned broadcaster Star India. It received breathless news coverage following their arrests.

Ms Indrani is accused along with her driver and another ex-husband of strangling to death Ms Sheena Bora, 22 - her daughter from a previous relationship - before dumping her body in a forest and setting it alight.

Ms Indrani, 49, was detained since her August 2015 arrest but granted bail by the Supreme Court on May 18 on grounds that the trial was far from concluding, with only a third of witnesses being examined so far.

She "has been in custody for six-and-a-half years and even if half of the remaining witnesses are given up by the prosecution, the trial will not complete soon. We are of the considered view that the petitioner is entitled to be released on bail", a three-judge bench ruled.

Photos showed Ms Indrani getting into a black car and being driven away following her release.

"I cannot talk about the case right now," she told reporters.

"The matter is sub judice. I think I have seen life from a different lens now. I have met people from all walks of life. It's been a journey. I have learnt to be patient.

"I am so happy. I am going home. I have no plans. I just want to go home.

Asked if she blamed anyone for her imprisonment, she said: "I have forgiven all the people who have hurt me. That's all."

Ms Sheena was killed in April 2012 and her burnt body was discovered in the woods the following month, more than 60km away from Mumbai.

Ms Indrani was arrested in August 2015 on suspicion of murdering her daughter - who had been in a relationship with Peter Mukerjea's son from an earlier marriage. That connection and a financial dispute over property dealings were among various motives put forward for the alleged crime.

Ms Indrani was arrested "on charges of criminal conspiracy, abduction, murder, destruction of evidence, giving false information, creation and use of forged documents", India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said.

Mr Peter headed Star India from 1997 to 2007 before leaving to start his own television venture, and was seen as one of India's most successful media magnates.

The CBI arrested him in connection with the case in November 2015 but he was granted bail in early 2020.

Ms Indrani and Mr Peter ended their 17-year marriage in 2019 while both were incarcerated.

In a letter to the CBI last November, Ms Indrani said a fellow inmate had seen her daughter alive in Kashmir, a claim the CBI strongly denied.


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