Indrani Mukerjea seeks anticipatory bail in 2017 jail riots case

Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea has approached a sessions court seeking anticipatory bail in the case registered against her and 30 other inmates for rioting at Byculla jail following the death of prisoner Manjula Shetty in 2017.

Mukherjee’s plea, filed by advocate Sana Rais Khan, said the chargesheet filed against the prisoners including him this year is unclear on the charges against each of the accused.

The petition also said that Mukherjee himself was the victim of the attack as the inmates were thrashed by the jail staff demanding a probe after Shetty’s death. Shetty, who was serving a life sentence, died following an alleged assault by six jail staff, including the jailer.

The plea said that Mukherjee had informed the special court in 2017 which is prosecuting him in connection with the alleged murder of his daughter Sheena Bora. On June 23, four days after Shetty’s death, Mukherjee had informed the special court that he had seen Shetty being beaten up by jail staff.

He had also told the court that the next day when the prisoners learned that Shetty had died, they demanded that a judge be allowed inside the jail to investigate and charge murder charges against the assault staff. FIR should be lodged in Shetty.

His pre-arrest bail plea stated that there was no violence by the prisoners, as alleged in the initial FIR, which was registered “at the behest of the prison staff”. She also said that the special court had directed her to be taken to JJ Hospital for medical examination and later she had also given a complaint to the police.

While the initial FIR for the rioting was registered at Nagpada Police Station, it was later transferred to the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police. Other charges against prisoners include criminal conspiracy, criminal intimidation and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

Separate FIRs have also been registered against six employees on different charges including murder. They are currently facing trial. The charge sheet was filed against the prisoners earlier this year itself.

Before Mukherjee, a 23-year-old woman was granted anticipatory bail in the case in August. The court said that the investigating officer has not mentioned a single ground for arresting or interrogating the woman in custody. Therefore, he can be given protection from arrest, the court said.