Indrani Mukerjea, the former media executive accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012, will be released on bail, the Supreme Court ordered today. "We are granting bail to Indrani Mukerjea. 6.5 years is too long a time," said the court.
Indrani Mukerjea, who has been in a Mumbai jail since 2015, had approached the Supreme Court in February after being denied bail repeatedly by a special CBI court.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Indrani Mukerjea, argued that she is suffering from a cerebral disease and that the trial "would not end even in the next 10 years".
The Supreme Court agreed that she was entitled to bail as she had "already spent a long time" in prison. Bail has been granted with conditions like not leaving the country and not contacting witnesses.
"We are not making comments on the merits of the case as it might be detrimental to the interests of the parties. Taking into account that the petitioner has been in custody for six-and-a-half-years and even if 50 per cent witnesses are given by prosecution, the trial would not be over soon, we are of the considered view that the petitioner is entitled to be released on bail," said Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna.
The judges noted that it was a case of circumstantial evidence.
Indrani Mukerjea's husband Peter Mukerjea, arrested on charges of helping her, was released on bail in 2020.
Indrani Mukerjea, 50, is accused of killing Sheena Bora, her daughter from her first marriage, in the sensational case that captivated the nation with twists and turns worthy of a thriller. She was arrested in 2015, along with two men accused of helping her, her driver Shyamvar Rai and an ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna.
Investigators said Indrani was angry with her daughter's relationship with Rahul Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea's son from an earlier marriage.
Sheena Bora, 25, was missing for three years after the murder. Indrani told friends that Sheena - whom she had always pretended was her sister - had moved to the US.
Her half-burnt body was dug up from a forest near Mumbai after Indrani Mukerjea's driver, arrested in a separate case, gave a statement to the police. He alleged that Sheena Bora was strangled by her mother inside a car.
While still in jail, Indrani and Peter Mukerjea ended their 17-year relationship and were granted a divorce in 2019.
Earlier this year, Indrani Mukerjea claimed that Sheena Bora was alive and had been spotted by a fellow prisoner in Srinagar. That claim was rubbished by the CBI as a "figment of her imagination" and next to impossible.
The CBI recently told a special court in Mumbai that its investigations in the 2012 murder were over.