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  • The Hon’ble SC on Wednesday, in the case of Indrani Pratim Mukerjea vs CBI and anr. has granted bail to Indrani Mukerjea, accused of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, while taking into consideration the fact that she had been behind bars for 6.5 years. The Court also took note of the fact that it was highly unlikely that the trial would end any time soon. 
  • In addition to the conditions imposed by the trial Court, the Apex Court held that the conditions that were imposed while granting bail to the co-accused Peter Mukerjea would also be imposed on her. 
  • This order was passed by a Bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna in a special leave petition filed against the order of the Bombay HC denying Indrani’s bail plea in 2021. 
  • Indrani Mukerjea was charged with murdering her daughter through her first husband, after conspiring with her present husband. The allegation against her is that she did so in light of the live-in relationship of her daughter Sheena Bora with Rahul Mukerjea, the son of Peter Mukerjea from his earlier marriage. 
  • Senior Counsel Mr. Rohatgi, appearing for the petitioner, argued that out of the 237 prosecution witnesses, only 68 had been examined till date. He also argued that the IO in the matter is on leave from 7-6-2021 to 4-5-2022. Given the large volume of witnesses yet to be examined, coupled with the slow pace of the trial, it is unlikely that the same would be completed anytime soon. Reliance was placed upon the earlier decisions of the Apex Court to argue that accused persons who have undergone a long period of custody in jail during trial have been released on bail. 
  • Learned Additional Solicitor General Mr. Raju opposed the grant of bail by arguing that there was enough evidence on record to suggest the involvement of the petitioner. He also submitted that 50% of the witnesses would be given up by the prosecution, in which case, the trial would be completed early and there is no reason for granting bail to the petitioner, who is involved in a grave offence. 
  • Without commenting upon the merits of the case, the Court admitted that the petitioner had been in custody for a period of 6.5 years, and even if 50% of the witnesses are given up by the prosecution, they the Court was still of the view that the trial would not be completed anytime soon, and thus the petitioner was found entitled to be released on bail. 
     
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