The murder of a 24-year-old young woman in India has thrown up several pressing questions about the role of one of television's most influential executives and his wife, who is accused of the crime. Former STAR India CEO Peter Mukerjea, under whose tenure the massively popular TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati was launched, said he had no idea until yesterday that his wife Indrani was actually the mother, and not the sister, as he was led to believe, of murdered Sheena Bora.
Peter told several media outlets that he was only recently made aware that Sheena was his wife's daughter from an earlier marriage. How Indrani managed to keep him in the dark all these years is anyone's guess, but the TV honcho said he felt the "pieces of puzzles (that are falling into place) are very distrubing. Sheena disappeared in 2012 and Peter was told by Indrani that she's been sent to the US for further studies.
The news came as a relief to Peter, whose son Rahul (from an earlier marriage) was in a relationship with Sheena and no one was happy about the situation in the Mukerjea household.
"I'm very shocked, I had heard of this some years ago (that Sheena was Indrani's daughter), I dismissed it as rumour mongering. But now credible sources such as the police etc are telling me that that in fact is true. It's a shocking kind of situation. I have promised to be around, to be available for the police if they need any clarifications about anything from me, have this matter cleared up, let the law take its course," Peter told NDTV.
"I'm finding it very hard to process this information... Sheena being the daughter... I feel I've been kept in the dark for the last 15 years in my marriage," he said.
"I believed what Indrani said," he was quoted as saying by India Today. He also said he helped Sheena get admission in St Xavier's in Bombay.
He had asked his son to "move on and forget Sheena".
On the relationship between his son and Sheena, Peter said: "Indrani was unhappy and so were her parents and to some extent so was I but they were grown ups they exercised their options, obviously there was great pressure, also from Indrani's parents. When I was told Sheena was sent off to the US to complete her studies, there was a sense of relief."
Indrani was arrested by Khar Police last night over her alleged role in the murder. Maharashtra's Raigad police had found remains of Bora in a forest following which a murder case was registered against unidentified persons.
Indrani was produced before the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate court, which remanded her in police custody till August 31. Indrani's driver, a co-accused who was picked by the police a few days ago in connection with the murder, was also arrested yesterday.
During interrogation, the driver claimed that Indrani had killed Bora and that he had helped her in disposing of the body by dumping it in the forests of Raigad district. Raigad police had come across remains of an unidentified body, which they had disposed of without collecting DNA samples. Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria had interrogated Indrani at Khar police station yesterday.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Bora, Sheena's brother and Indrani's son, told NDTV that Indrani had a "casual relationship with her children" and never acknowledged in public that Sheena was her daughter. The two were brought up by their maternal grandparents in Guwahati.