The Sheena Bora murder case, for which Indrani Mukherjea has been arrested, has proven to be a quite a confusing scandal so far, with even the nature of the actual relationship between Sheena and Indrani still under speculation.
What is intriguing however is how Peter Mukherjea, his brother Gautam and his helpful friends like Suhel Seth have attempted to create a media narrative favouring Peter, distancing him from the scandal and painting Indrani as the woman who cheated her own family.
Right from the beginning, Peter has maintained that he did not know Sheena was Indraniâs daughter, and knew of Sheena and Mikhail as Indraniâs siblings. He has feigned complete ignorance over her family affairs, after nearly 13 years of marriage. He said that he was âshockedâ at the developments and has distanced himself, showing no support for his wife. He says his wife âbetrayedâ him.
About the relationship between Indrani and Sheena, Gautam Mukherjea said, âWe always knew and were introduced to Sheena as her sister and in 2012 we were told that she has gone abroad.â
Evidently, he too denies knowing Sheena as Indraniâs daughter.
However, several friends of Sheena have told India Today that it was common knowledge among them that Sheena was Indraniâs daughter, and it is difficult to believe that Peter did not know about it.
Further, in a spy-cam footage of Times Now, Rahul Mukherjea's maternal grandmother told the reporter that Peter was repeatedly told by both Rahul and Sheena herself that Sheena was Indrani's daughter, not sister.
Suhel Seth too pitches for his dear friend Peterâs innocence even before any fingers were raised. He writes in Telegraph,
I, for one, cannot imagine that she did have a family which we knew nothing of. Including Peter. He too must be as aghast and deeply shocked. But then we shall have to wait for the truth to emerge which I am sure will follow in due course.
This is a horrible travesty and one which Peter will have to live through. This is not the time to prey like vultures but instead to wait for the investigations to be completed.
And here is a part of a Times of India article with the headline, 'Peter may not have known what was on with wife', dubbing her as the 'Gone Girl' of India,
A relative of Peter's told an acquaintance recently that his wife was his undoing. A friend described her as "an ambitious social climber who could barely speak English when she first came to Mumbai".
"I'd like to believe that Peter didn't know what was going on with respect to his wife," says a former employee of NewsX. "The first time he introduced me to her, I just didn't like her. There was something diabolical in her eyes. Peter has a more innocent demeanour."
The concerted campaign to distance Peter - a media bigwig who knows how the industry works - from the whole mess, possibly running contrary to facts and painting Indrani as the evil woman who lied to everybody, raises eyebrows. Why is such a long rope being given to Peter Mukherjea? Why are friends, named and unnamed, rushing to his defense and the media lapping it up without any questions? Does it not seem suspicious that for 13 years he knew nothing of his wife's family, that for 3 years he was 'fooled' into believing Sheena was in the US?
And what about the financial angle?
Speculation is rife about two possible motives of Sheenaâs murder â either it was for personal reasons due to the relationship between Sheena and Peterâs son from a previous marriage, Rahul Mukherja, or it was over the financial fraud which could have been carried on in Sheenaâs name among several others.
To probe the personal relationships, the police have so far arrested Sanjeev Khanna, former husband of Indrani and are interrogating Rahul and Peter. As for the financial angle, Tehelka reports that there could be a financial angle to the murder.
Singapore based company Temasek invested in the the media company of the Mukherjeaâs and after the global recession, Temasek got the media company audited. It was found out during this audit that Peter and Indrani had siphoned off huge sums of money from the company in the name of various family members, including Peterâs brother Gautam Mukherjea who brings out the magazine Planet Goa.
Mumbai Police sources have revealed on the condition on anonymity that a conflict over this money possibly led to Indrani conspiring Sheenaâs murder. Sources have further added that Sheena refused to transfer back money siphoned off by Indrani, to the couple and hence a bitter feud followed leading to the killing. Further investigations are going on in the case, the source added.â
A LinkedIn account which is still active shows that Gautam Mukherjea was an âAdvisorâ a NewsX.
He tells Herald Goa however,
Denying television reports that he too has been summoned for questioning by the Mumbai Police and there are allegations that some funds from the NewsX channel were transferred to his account he said, âI have not been summoned but will do whatever Iâm asked to. No funds were transferred to my account barring my salary because I had a professional association.â
One of the oldest tricks in the books to pull investor's money out of a company is paying out consultancy fees to the near and dear. Clearly, the alleged financial irregularities need further probe. If as Tehelka has reported, Sheenaâs name was also involved in the fraud, then the brothers, along with Indrani, could be holding back a lot more than they are divulging at the moment. And the media, at the very least, must not present an imbalanced image of 'Peter the good, Indrani the bad'.