Mumbai, June 28: Indrani Mukerjea, one of the prime accused in the Shee Bora murder case and ex-media baron, on Wednesday informed a Special CBI Court that she was beaten up and threatened with sexual assault during the violence in Byculla Jail last Saturday. She was among the prisoners who were protesting the death of a woman life-term convict and jail warden, Manjula Shetye, the previous evening (Friday) after Shetye was brutally hammered inside the jail by some prison staffers.
Mukerjea gave her statement before Special CBI Judge J.C. Jagdale, who ordered that she should be taken for a medical examition and later to the gpada Police Station to lodge her formal complaint on the incident. Through her lawyer, advocate Gunjan Mangla, she had moved an application before the Special Court on Tuesday following which Special Judge Jagdale directed the prison authorities to produce her in court on Wednesday.
In her detailed statement, Mukerjea informed the court how she was threatened, assaulted and badly injured, and how she saw Shetye being assaulted on Friday night. After learning of Shetye’s death, Mukerjea said she had even offered to become a witness after a case was registered by the police.
However, on the day of the protest, she alleged that the jail superintendent ordered a blackout inside the jail and ordered caning of the female prisoners and even the male officials joined in the charge. On her part, she said she was hit on the hand and legs, and the superintendent allegedly threatened her by saying: “You want to become a witness? We will see you.. We will do the same we did to Shetye.”
Earlier on Tuesday, advocate Mangla said Mukerjea showed her the bruises and injuries on her hands, legs and head which she sustained during the assault, the verbal abuse and threats of sexual assault for joining the prisoners’ protest against Shetye’s death. Following Shetye’s death, on Saturday morning the angry inmates resorted to a massive protest, some climbed to the terrace of the prison and drew the attention of passersby, some burnt things inside the jail.
Later the police lodged a complaint of rioting, attacking public servants, unlawful assembly and other charges against some 200 inmates, including Mukerjea. The prison officials alleged that Mukerjea reportedly instigated the inmates by asking them to go on hunger strike and use their children as ‘human shields’ when the jail staff tried to stop their agitation.
Shetye, 40, was a jail warden serving the last few months of her 14-year jail term for murdering her sister-in-law in 1996. She had complained about some missing ration from the jail food stock on Friday. She was allegedly summoned by a woman jailor and beaten up brutally, according to witness statements recorded by the police. Shetye was rushed to the Sir J.J. Hospital nearby but was pronounced dead on arrival that evening.
According to police, she was beaten up and canes thrust into her private parts during the assault by six prison staffers. Shortly after the incident and the outcry, Additiol Director-General of Prisons B.K. Upadhyay ordered a probe and suspended six jail staffers against whom there were allegations of misbehavior. Mukerjea is currently undergoing trial for the killing of her daughter, Shee Bora in April 2012, along with her husband and ex-media tycoon Peter Mukerjea and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khan.
Her former driver Shyamwar Rai, who was also one of the prime accused, turned an approver last year and was given a pardon by the Special Court. (IANS)