The Quint’s Exclusive on Financial Angle Behind Sheena Bora Murder
Exclusive: In a late night Aug 27 con-call, Peter Mukerjea spoke of new business plans in India & of family troubles.
As early as August, The Quint highlighted the twin angles to Peter Mukerjea’s alleged involvement in the murder of Sheena Bora - the personal and the financial angle. We reported Sheena Bora may have been killed for her control over a very significant amount of money arising from the sale of INX Media a few years ago. This piece was first published on August 28.
Former Star TV CEO Peter Mukerjea, whose wife Indrani is the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, was planning a re-entry into the media business in India having wound up his activities abroad, The Quint has learnt from sources close to the beleaguered media honcho.
In a Late Night Conference Call, Peter Planned His Return to India
On August 27, Peter Mukerjea was on a conference call with an investor and a senior Delhi-based journalist who had previously been associated with Peter and Indrani.
He had been in discussions with this investor three years ago regarding plans to return from the UK to India to re-enter the media business here.
In the course of this con-call Peter also shared how his return to India clashed with Indrani’s interests, both social and financial, causing a rupture in the couple’s marital relationship.
After the stress of a 12-hour interrogation at the hands of the Mumbai Police, Peter Mukerjea is said to have confided to the “blue-blooded Indian investor” that he was “lonely and failing” (in business) and remained interested in going ahead with being the face of a new media company.
The “silent investor” who was on this late night phone call, whose identity The Quint prefers to withhold, had earlier committed to put in Rs 300 crore for a proposed media company which would be involved in television software production.
As a close associate of Peter Mukerjea, this prospective investor had made several calls to Indrani primarily to discuss business possibilities during the period between Sheena Bora’s disappearance and the Mumbai Police’s registration of a murder case at Khar police station. The call list on Indrani’s phone reflects the number of times the silent investor called her.
For now, police sources are saying this person is not a potential witness in the case.
Adopted Daughter’s ‘Social Life’ Caused Marital Discord
During his long telephonic con-call, Peter bemoaned how his relationship with Indrani had begun to go downhill and one of the reasons behind the deterioration in ties between him and Indrani was the legally adopted daughter Vidhie, who lives in the UK. Differences cropped up between Peter and Indrani over Peter’s decision to relocate Vidhie – born to Indrani and her second husband, Kolkata-based businessman Sanjeev Khanna – to Kolkata.
The Quint learns that at the heart of the squabbling between Peter and Indrani was Vidhie’s social life which had “gone haywire”.
Indrani may also have been alarmed by Peter’s decision to relocate to India from the UK, a decision she may have perceived to be the first step towards a formal break-up of the marriage.
No Longer in Control of his Money, Peter Wanted to End the Marriage
Peter is said to have confided to the “silent investor” that he told Indrani that while he would handle business operations in India, she could take charge of international operations.
But what international operations when the couple were no longer running any business? After INX Media wound up and a considerable amount of money from that venture was moved out abroad, the Mukerjeas, settled in Bristol. They also reportedly own an expansive flat in London’s St John’s Wood neighbourhood and another in Spain, in Indrani’s name.
Peter is said to have shared his “agony” with the friend-cum-investor that he was no longer in control of the money ferreted out after INX Media was liquidated. An indication that someone else – possibly Indrani, or Sheena – was sitting on it.
He is believed to have said that some of the money he had managed to save had gone into buying the duplex flat in Worli and other property in India. He even claimed that he was “oblivious” of all the disturbances in his family, a reference to Indrani’s murky past, and the role she might have played in Sheena Bora’s murder, and his general association with a woman whose antecedents he knew were “racy”.
Peter is said to have told the friend-investor that when he asked Indrani about her past she got furious and wanted to be rid of Indrani and her influences. The mess in the family had brought his nerves “on edge”. Peter Mukerjea also shared that he had then made up his mind to return to India and try his hand once again in the media business with the assistance of three to four investors, including the “silent investor”.
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