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‘Felt Abandoned, but Stepped Out of Jail With a Bigger Family’: Indrani Mukerjea

Indrani Mukerjea told Mojo Story that not having family members visit her in prison affected her morale.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
“I am sure truth and justice will prevail. I don’t want sympathy or empathy. I would like people to understand me as a person. The lens with which I am being looked at is not who I am.”
Indrani Mukherjea to Mojo Story

After spending nearly seven years in prison, Indrani Mukerjea, the former media executive accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012, was released on bail on 20 May, a day after the Supreme Court's order.

In her first interview since she has been out on bail, Mukerjea talked to Mojo Story about the gruelling experience she faced inside the prison and how she intends to prove her innocence.

After leaving from Byculla Jail in Mumbai, she had told reporters, "I am just going home...Empathy and forgiveness...I have forgiven all the people who have hurt me. I have learnt a lot in the jail.”

Elaborating on this, she told Mojo Story that she “doesn’t hold any more grudges.”

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The Media Trial : ‘Everyone Had Already Decided That I Was Guilty'

Indrani Mukerjea told Mojo Story that not having family members visit her in prison affected her morale.

Since Indrani Mukerjea's arrest on 26 August 2015, several media channels have pointed towards her for Sheena's murder, based purely on circumstantial evidence, she alleged.

“After I was arrested, I felt a sense of huge disappointment. I was put through a massive media trial which was very hurtful. And since I was in judicial custody I was not in a position to give my side of the story to anyone. Everyone had already decided that I was guilty. It took a toll on my emotional wellbeing. My confidence levels had plummeted,” she said in the interview.

Since the case is sub judice, she was legally prohibited from speaking to the media directly about the case or responding to the allegations.

“I realised people will do what they have to do but I have to stay positive and face the challenges. And to do that I need to forgive all the people and act constructively,” she added.

"Unless you have clinching evidence in your favour, and in our case that is beginning to happen now, it does cause prejudice even to the prosecution."
Indrani Mukherjea to Mojo Story
Indrani Mukerjea told Mojo Story that not having family members visit her in prison affected her morale.
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On Being Shunned by Family: ‘Peter Could’ve Supported Me in Every Way'

Three years after Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea were arrested for their involvement in the murder of Sheena Bora, Indrani and Peter Mukerjea appeared before a family court in Mumbai in 2018 to end their 16-year-old marriage.

Back in 2015, Indrani Mukerjea had said that the news that Peter might divorce her was “the biggest shock” of her life. Later in January 2017, Indrani had served Peter Mukerjea a notice for divorce.

Looking back, Mukerjea exclaimed that none of her family members had visited her in jail; and even in court, none of the visitors who had come to meet Peter exchanged any pleasantries with Indrani, despite their years together, including as co-founders of INX Media.

Indrani Mukerjea told Mojo Story that not having family members visit her in prison affected her morale.

She said that she had counted on Peter to speak to her and even visit her in prison.

“My least expectations were that he could’ve supported me in every way. I would've definitely done so if Peter was the one who had been arrested first. When I used to meet Peter at the court and during video conferencing meetings, Peter regretted having not reached out to me and hearing my side of the story. This is one of the reasons I filed for the divorce,” she added.

Explaining that she can’t reveal the absolute reasons that led to their split because she was a key witness in cases concerning Peter, Indrani revealed that she has not been in touch with Peter.

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Life in Prison: ‘Felt Abandoned Like Most Women Inmates'

On 20 May, Mukerjea had stepped out of the women’s jail, dressed in a white salwar kameez. She waved at the crowd of news camerapersons waiting for her and a sizeable number of onlookers gathered outside the jail gate, and stepped in a Mercedes Benz that came to fetch her.

She told in her recent interview that “it was strange to be able to sleep on a bed after sleeping on the ground for six years.”

Apprehensive about the course of law and how long it has taken for her to be released on bail she added, “Now that I am out, I want to do all that I had wished to do because I don't know how tomorrow will be. I am of course having a positive attitude too.”

She explained that she spent several days studying the charge sheet, finding similar case studies, reading up the concerned sections in the Indian law.

“What I realised was that it was only my innocence that can be proven in court. I began conditioning myself to be more strong and be unaffected of the outside world,” she added.

She also said that not having family members visit her really affected her morale and that “she felt abandoned.” She said that this seemed to be the case of “90 percent of women in prisons” who are “deserted by their families”.

She said she plans to raise money to help women prisoners.

Indrani Mukerjea told Mojo Story that not having family members visit her in prison affected her morale.
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My Arrest Hit Vidhie Like a ‘Thunderbolt’: Indrani

Indrani Mukerjea, hailing from Guwahati, had two children, Sheena and Mikhail, from her relationship with Siddhartha Das. She was then married Sanjeev Khanna from Kolkata and had a daughter, Vidhie. The girl was adopted by Peter after he married Indrani. Peter had two boys – Rahul and Rabin – from his previous marriage.

It was on the eve of Vidhie Mukerjea’s 18th birthday that she was arrested by the police in front of her eyes, which was followed by a media storm that sensationalised every aspect of her life.

Recalling the day, Mukerjea said, “Vidhie had just returned from school and that's when the police had come to our house and said they were arresting on me on charges on IPC 302, that is murder. That's when I saw the look on her face. Traumatised was an understatement. She was rooted to a spot like a thunderbolt had hit her. We were shattered. I was taken away.”

“After Peter was arrested, she was an orphan. She was dependant emotionally and financially on others. But media and others weren’t very supportive of her,” she added.

Having lived through the nightmare for more than half a decade, Vidhie, 24, authored her side of the story in a gripping memoir titled Devil’s Daughter in April 2022.

The book offered Vidhie’s perspective on the Sheena Bora murder case and how she survived an emotional hurricane.

Indrani Mukerjea told Mojo Story that not having family members visit her in prison affected her morale.

“I believe when you forgive someone you let go of the past and unburden yourself. Of course, it took many years for me to reach this place. I had to essentially decode my mum and then myself to understand and empathise with my mother on many counts. I couldn't ignore the fact that she had such a tough childhood. That scars you so deep, there's no return. It turns you into a stone,” she had told The Quint in an interview in April.

Indrani’s lawyer Sana Raes Khan told Mojo Story that they are positive that their final argument will serve them a favourable verdict.

Indrani also added that she plans to write two books, of which the first one will hopefully be published in six months.

(With inputs from Mojo Story)

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