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Sheena Bora murder: Indrani’s former driver seeks to turn approver

Rai, lodged separately in Thane central prison, had not been produced before the court since March 31.

Sheena Bora, Indrani mukerjea, sheena murder case, sheena bora murder, indrani driver, sheena murder news Indrani Mukerjea. Express photo

Nearly two months after he was last produced before the special CBI court, Indrani Mukerjea’s former driver Shyamvar Rai Wednesday claimed repentance for the murder of Sheena Bora and expressed his desire to reveal all details of the conspiracy.

His testimony as an approver would be an eyewitness account with blow-by-blow details of the crime.

Rai, lodged separately in Thane central prison, had not been produced before the court since March 31. On the same day, the CBI had moved an application seeking to interrogate Rai inside the prison for two days.

During the last hearing on May 9, the court had reprimanded and directed the Thane prison superintendent to ensure that Rai was produced in court “anyhow”. Rai’s application to the court seeking to be made approver is dated April 29.

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Rai’s lawyer Shrinivas Bhave said he was unaware about the application or his desire to turn approver, till he learnt of it in the court Wednesday. Bhave also said while Rai had not been produced before the court since March, he had also not met him in prison.

On Wednesday, Rai was brought to the court along with the three other accused, Indrani Mukerjea, her husband Peter Mukerjea and former husband Sanjeev Khanna. The judge asked Rai to be brought to the witness box and asked if he had sent the application from the jail. Rai said he was seeking pardon and had forwarded an application through the jail superintendent.

The court then asked him why the application was made and how he was aware of the crime that he was wishing to reveal details of. “Main jahaan murder hua tha, wahaan par tha. (I was there when the murder took place),” Rai told the court.

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In his submission recorded in the court, Rai said, “I am ready to disclose entire facts and circumstances of which I am aware…being a participant in the commission of the crime, that is the killing of Sheena Bora by strangulation.” He further said he would make himself available as a witness before the court.

On being asked why he was making such a plea, Rai said he was repenting the act. “Paschatap hua,” he said. Special Judge H S Mahajan also asked him if he was making the submission under any pressure or if anybody had lured him with a monetary offer. “On making inquiry and verifying, accused number 3 (Rai) has said that he made the submission voluntarily without any pressure, instigation, fear or for reward,” the court recorded.

Further, the CBI was asked for its response to the request made by Rai. The agency has sought time till May 17. The court has directed the Thane prison superintendent to ensure Rai is produced before court during the next hearing without fail. If he becomes an approver in the case, Rai would have to do so under Section 306 read with Section 307 of the CrPC. It would require him to make a full and complete disclosure about the crime, which could be used against his accomplices during the trial.

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Rai had earlier made a confessional statement under Section 164 of the CrPC. A CBI official said it would be the court’s prerogative to decide on whether the confessional statement would be referred to or a fresh statement recorded if the CBI decided to allow him turn an approver.

During the course of the investigation, according to the police, Rai had said it was Indrani who approached him to participate in the murder in lieu of money. Rai had also claimed to have accompanied Indrani to Raigad days before the murder to recce the spot for dumping the body and had also helped Indrani and Khanna eventually dispose of Sheena’s body a day after the murder on April 24, 2012.

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First published on: 12-05-2016 at 01:20 IST
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