A Special CBI Court on Tuesday started the trial in the Sheena Bora murder case by framing charges against her mother Indrani Mukerjea and her two step-fathers — former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea and Kolkata-based businessman Sanjeev Khanna.
The three have been charged among others with the murder, kidnapping and abetment to murder of the 24-year-old Sheena, a former executive with Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, on April 24, 2012.
After they were told about the charges, the accused pleaded not guilty and said they were prepared to face trial.
Special Judge H.S. Mahajan posted the matter for next hearing on February 1 when the trial is expected to start.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the minimum punishment in the case was life imprisonment and the next procedure for the prosecution would be to prove its charges against the accused.
The three accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to murder, criminal conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and causing disappearance of evidences.
Khanna and Indrani have been additionally charged with attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy to kill her son and Sheena’s brother Mikhail Bora after the latter claimed his drink was spiked the same evening his sister was killed.
Indrani and her ex-husband Khanna were arrested in August 2015 along with her former driver Shyamvar Rai while Indrani’s present husband Peter Mukerjea was nabbed in November.
The Mukerjea couple and Khanna have remained in police and CBI custody since their arrest.
The arguments for the framing of charges started on December 19, with the CBI contending that the victim was killed owing to her relationship with Rahul Mukerjea, son of Peter Mukerjea from an earlier marriage.
In June 2016, Rai turned approver in return for a pardon by the Special Court.
Later, he is understood to have provided valuable information to the CBI pertaining to the grisly killing of Sheena in a vehicle, the burning and the dumping of her semi-charred body in the forests of Raigad district adjacent to Mumbai.
The CBI took over the investigation from Mumbai Police in end-2015.