The Mumbai Police did not dig up three pairs of shoes as it had earlier said were worn by the three principal accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, from a private estate in Raypur village about 25 kms south-west of Kolkata, according to the property’s guard Sudarshan Mahato.
Speaking exclusively to The Quint 24 months after the arrest of Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyamwar Rai for allegedly murdering Sheena in Mumbai, Mahato – the main security guard of the Bawali Rajbari, a former zamindari estate in South 24 Parganas – said:
Sudarshan Mahato to the The Quint Yahan koi police nahin aaya tha. Koi joota nahin nikala gaya tha. (No police personnel came here. No shoes were dug up).Mahato’s assertion becomes crucial and significant since the Mumbai Police and then the CBI, which took up investigations of the case in September 2015, claimed that three pairs of new shoes were supposedly purchased from a Bata store in Mumbai by Indrani Mukerjea before Sheena was murdered inside a car in Bandra on 24 April 2012.
What This Means for the InvestigationThe Mumbai Police’s story of the murder, which was not challenged by the CBI in its own investigations, could potentially fall flat after Mahato’s sensational revelation to The Quint. This, especially when Indrani and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna – besides her present husband Peter Mukerjea – are undergoing trial in a Mumbai court.
Rai, whose so-called confessional statement to the CBI is peppered with inconsistencies, had earlier turned approver.
The driver, who recently reiterated in court that Indrani, Khanna and he took part in killing Sheena by strangling her in a hired Chevrolet car before the girl’s body was burnt in Gagode Khurd in Pen taluka of Maharashtra’s Raigad district on 25 April 2012, now stands out as an “unreliable witness-turned-approver”.
What makes the Mumbai Police’s probe suspicious – and by extension, the CBI’s too – is that Mahato, who was present at Bawali Rajbari estate the day a team of cops supposedly drove there to dig up the three pairs of shoes, was not included as an independent witness at the spot. Instead, the Mumbai Police listed the driver of a West Bengal police vehicle as a witness to the “unearthing” of the shoes.
The Curious Case of the Shoes That Weren’tNabbed in Mumbai on 19 August 2015, though officially shown arrested two days later, Rai claimed in his confessional statement to the CBI that while the shoes were purchased by Indrani from a Bata store, he did not mention when Indrani, Khanna and he slipped into the new shoes before committing the alleged murder.
Curiously enough, the shoes were not destroyed when Sheena’s body was burnt, to do away with any evidence, although the sarees purchased from a Bandra store were thrown into the fire. According to the CBI, the shoes were carried by Indrani and Khanna on a flight they took from Mumbai to Kolkata on 25 April 2012.
Originally hailing from Siwan district of Bihar, Mahato has been a security guard at the Bawali Rajbari hotel since it was developed as a private property when the descendants of the former zamindari family sold it off to its present proprietor. Earlier in a ruinous condition, the property was developed by Kolkata-based businessman Ajay Rawla sometime after 2008 when it was acquired by him.
Khanna, who worked in managing the property, was arrested from Rawla’s house in Alipore in Kolkata a day after Indrani Mukerjea was picked by the Mumbai Police on 24 August 2015.
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