Indrani Mukerjea

Indrani Mukerjea is a former HR consultant and media executive. She was the wife of Peter Mukerjea, a retired Indian television executive. In 2007 she co-founded INX Media with her ex-husband, where she took on the role of CEO. In 2009 she resigned from the company and later sold her stake in it. In August 2015, she was arrested by Mumbai Police and charged as the main accused in the alleged murder of her daughter, Sheena Bora.

Not to be confused with Indrani Mukherjee.

Indrani Mukherjea
Born
Pori Bora[1]

(1972-11-22) 22 November 1972[2]
ResidenceWorli, Mumbai, India

Bristol, UK

Marbella, Spain
NationalityUnited Kingdom (formerly India)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom (formerly India)
OccupationHR consultant and media executive
Years active1996–2009
Spouse(s)Sanjeev Khanna (1993–2002)
Peter Mukerjea (2002 – 2017)
Partner(s)Siddhartha Das (1986–1989)[4]
ChildrenSheena Bora
Mikhail Bora
Vidhie Khanna (now Mukerjea)
Parent(s)Upendra Kumar Bora (father)[5]
Durga Rani Bora (mother)

Career

In 1996 Indrani founded INX Services Private Limited as a recruitment company in Kolkata.[3][6] In 2001 Indrani moved to Mumbai where her recruitment firm considered Reliance Industries as her most important client.[7] The firm also handled recruitment for STAR India.[3] In 2005, the firm formed a partnership with Switzerland-based global executive search specialist, IMD International Search Group, which appointed Indrani as its regional director, Asia Pacific.[8][9]

In December 2006 Peter and Indrani Mukerjea became promoters of the INX Group, which consisted of human resources companies INX Services and INX Executive Search, and media companies INX Media and INX News. Indrani was appointed chairperson of INX Group.[10] Peter and Indrani Mukerjea held a 50% stake in INX Media.[11] The other half was held by private equity firms for a total funding of $170 million (₹750 crore according to the exchange rate at the time).[12] Temasek Holdings picked up 19% equity via Dunearn Investments, New Silk Route held 20%, New Vernon Private Equity Fund owned 6.31% while Indian entities Kotak Mahindra and SREI Group held 4.69% between them.[13]

INX News was incorporated on 22 December 2006 with an authorized capital of ₹7.5 crore (₹75 million) divided into 75 lakh (7.5 million) shares of ₹10 each.[14] INX Media took a 26% stake in INX News since Government of India regulations did not permit foreign direct investment in Indian news media beyond that limit at that time.[14] IM Media, a corporate entity claimed to be 99% owned by Indrani Mukerjea through her holding company Indrani Incon Pvt Ltd., held the majority 51% stake in INX News Indrani Mukerjea personally held a 17% stake. Peter Mukerjea, a foreign national, could not claim ownership in INX News. In March 2007 Vir Sanghvi, hired as CEO of INX News, was given a 16% stake as sweat equity.[15]

Peter Mukerjea, bound by a non-compete clause from his previous employer, became chairman of the human resources company INX Services Private Limited in January 2007.[9] In August 2007, Peter joined INX Media as chairman and chief strategy officer.[16][17] In November 2007 Indrani became the CEO of INX Media.[8]

At INX Media, Peter looked after advertisement, finance, distribution and revenues while Indrani was in charge of content, human resources and marketing.[17][18] In the first phase of operations, INX Media launched the Hindi general entertainment channel 9X and the Hindi youth music channel 9XM in November 2007. NewsX, an English news channel, launched in March 2008. In its first year of operations, the INX Group spent almost the entire corpus it had raised from foreign investors.[19] Employees suspected that vendors were encouraged to present inflated invoices so that the Mukerjeas could earn kickbacks.[20] By September 2008, all the investors in INX Media were looking to sell some part of their stake to raise funding for the second phase of expansion. They wanted $150 million to launch three regional channels, three regional music channels and three city-specific news channels.[21]

When the global financial crisis of 2007–08 hit the Indian media industry, advertisers could not pay their dues and INX Media in turn could not pay its vendors.[20] Employees suspected that TRP ratings of the general entertainment channel 9X were being added to those of NewsX in order to present a rosy picture to the investors. An audit conducted by Temasek Holdings brought up suspicions that the Mukerjeas had siphoned off ₹160 crore (₹1.6 billion) from the company.[20] In January 2009, the Mukerjeas sold INX Media and its loss-making channel NewsX to Indi Media Network, a partnership between the Nai Dunia promoter and CEO Vinay Chhajlani and former Businessworld editor Jehangir S Pochaa.[22][23][24] By March 2009 INX Media had accumulated losses of Rs 800 crore and was in debt to the tune of Rs 100 crore. Temasek Holdings and Kotak Mahindra were looking to exit.[25] With the company running out of cash and outstanding payments to creditors mounting,[26] the Mukerjeas resigned from their management positions. In March 2009 Indrani left, with Peter following a month later.[11][27] By April 2010, the Mukerjeas had sold their stake in the company.[28] In May 2011, the Mukerjeas resigned from their position on the board of directors of the company.[29]

Awards

In November 2008, The Wall Street Journal named Indrani as one of 50 Women to Watch.[30] Uttar Bhartiya Mahasangh, an organization that aims to promote the north Indian community in the country, awarded Indrani Mukerjea with the title of Uttar Ratna for her "outstanding work in the art, media and broadcasting sector".[31]

Controversies

Conflict and fraud at INX Media

Starting from mid-2007 Indrani Mukerjea, as the chairperson of INX News, found herself in conflict with Vir Sanghvi, the CEO over control of the organization.[1][32] On January 23, 2008 NewsX announced that as a consequence Vir Sanghvi would resign on January 29, 2008.[33][34][35][36]

On the evening of January 31, 2008 Indrani Mukerjea fired five television journalists at NewsX without prior notice or explanation: executive editor Avirook Sen, head of domestic news, Rajesh Sundaram, editorial adviser Nick Pollard, consultant Arun Roy Chowdhury, and news anchor Kailash Menon.[37][38] Protesting against this unprofessional conduct, a further nine television journalists resigned, among them news coordinator Prakash Patra, and Narendra Nag.[39] The following day, February 1, 2008, a group of former NewsX employees took their grievances to Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, then Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Government of India.[40][41] Dasmunshi conveyed their concern over dubious sources of funding at INX Media to P. Chidambaram, then Minister of Finance in the Government of India.[42][43][44] Chidambaram in turn requested the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to look into the allegations of financial impropriety.[45]

In February 2008 Rajesh Sundaram and Avirook Sen filed legal notices against NewsX seeking damages over their unfair dismissal.[46] By September 15, 2008 Avirook Sen had received a settlement worth ₹2 crore (₹20 million) paid out over four equal monthly installments.[47]

In the weeks following the departure of Vir Sanghvi, there was a mass exodus of talent from NewsX,[48] leaving it unable to meet its commitment to jittery investors of the launch of a news channel by March 31, 2008.[36] The Mukerjeas started exploring an exit route from INX Media[45] and ultimately sold it to Indi Media Network, partly owned by Nai Dunia promoter and CEO Vinay Chhajlani.

According to a report filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in April 2013 based on its investigation into the Niira Radia tapes, IM Media, the majority stake holder in INX News, was a front for Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).[49] As per SFIO, Chhajlani's Nai Dunia was also indirectly owned by Mukesh Ambani, thus making IM Media and Nai Dunia related companies. On January 7, 2009 shares in INX Media, previously valued at ₹208.24, were sold to Nai Dunia for just ₹10 each. The SFIO report recommended charges be filed for causing wrongful losses to the ordinary shareholders of RIL under Indian Penal Code Sections 120B (conspiracy), 415 (cheating), 418 (cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may ensue to person whose interest offender is bound to protect), and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).[49][50]

Foreign exchange violation at INX Group

In 2010, the Enforcement Directorate, a financial crime fighting agency, registered a case under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for diverting foreign direct investment by three Mauritius-based companies in INX Media to its step down subsidiaries without prior approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).[51] The three companies named were New Vernon Private Equity Limited, New Silk Route (NSR) PE Mauritius, and Dunearn Investment (Mauritius). In 2013 the investigation was halted without explanation.[52] In May 2014 the investigative wing of the Central Board of Direct Taxes compiled a tax history of the INX Group and suggested that the Mukerjeas had laundered ₹275.5 crore (₹2.755 billion) via Mauritius into eight INX Group subsidiary companies between 2007 and 2008.[53][54] In September 2015 the Mumbai office of the Enforcement Directorate indicated that it would reopen the 2010 FEMA case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.[55] [56]

Sheena Bora murder

On 25 August 2015 Indrani Mukerjea was arrested by Mumbai Police in connection with the alleged murder of her daughter, Sheena Bora, in 2012.[57] She was charged under sections 302, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.[58]

In September 2015 the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the case.[59] In November 2015 the CBI filed charges against Indrani under the Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 34 (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating and forgery), 364 (kidnapping) and 120-B (conspiracy).[60] Later that month CBI officials contended that Peter and Indrani Mukerjea had siphoned off money from INX Media and parked it in an offshore bank account in Sheena Bora's name.[61][62] The CBI has speculated that this financial angle might provide a motive for Sheena Bora's murder.[63][64]

Since September 2015 Indrani has been held in judicial custody at a women's-only prison in Byculla Jail, Mumbai.[65][66] While in custody, Indrani Mukerjea informed a trial court in Mumbai on December 20, 2016 that she had translated 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita into English from Sanskrit. She had sought permission from a CBI court in Mumbai to publish them.

On June 26, 2017, following a jail inmate's death due to alleged torture by jail officials, Indrani and 200 other prisoners in Byculla women's prison were booked for rioting. The jail officials accused of murdering the inmate are currently being tried in a fast-track court.

Shyamvar Rai, one of the accused who turned an approver in the Sheena Bora murder case, told the CBI court that he was not aware that after becoming the key witness in the case he would be entitled to an acquittal.

Rai, a former driver of Indrani Mukerjea, turned approver in September 2015 when he moved an application before the metropolitan magistrate in which he claimed he wanted to "tell the truth".

He, however, remembers little about the manner in which his application was moved. During his cross-examination by defence lawyers, Rai failed to confirm the contents of his application before the court as they were in English, a language he didn't read, write, speak or understand. The only thing he could confirm was his signature in Hindi.

Rai, who was deposing in the case a few days ago, had also told the CBI court that he feared for his life after which he was provided protection inside the jail and additional security for his travels to the court.

The murder came to light in 2015 when he was caught by police while trying to dispose of a country-made pistol and bullets. Three years after Bora's murder, this was his third attempt at getting rid of the 'parcel' which was allegedly given by Mukerjea.

"The police caught me and found the weapon," Rai said, adding that during the interrogation he told them about Sheena Bora's killing.

He confessed about the crime before a magistrate later as he was "remorseful", Rai said.

After his statement, the police arrested Indrani Mukerjea, Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamvar Rai and recovered the remains of Sheena Bora's body from a jungle in Raigad district. Peter Mukerjea was arrested later.

According to the CBI, financial dispute was the reason for Indrani Mukerjea to hatch the conspiracy. Sheena Bora was also in a relationship with Peter Mukerjea's son from earlier marriage, Rahul, which Indrani Mukerjea disapproved of.

References

  1. Archana Shukla (27 August 2015). "From Pori Bora to Mrs Mukerjea". Indian Express. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  2. Prabin Kalita (29 August 2015). "Siddhartha Das is Sheena, Michail's father: Granddad". Times of India. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  3. "From power woman to murder accused: rise, rise and fall of Indrani". Hindustan Times. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  4. Pooja Mehta (1 September 2015). "Sheena and Mikhail born out of wed-lock, wants guilty to be hanged: Siddhartha Das". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  5. "Sheena murder gets murkier, Indrani, driver, ex-hubby quizzed". Press Trust of India. Business Standard. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  6. Devina Joshi (30 May 2007). "Indrani Mukerjea's INX Group on the hunt for agencies". agencyfaqs!. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  7. Ruchika Shah (27 August 2015). "Peter – Indrani Mukerjea saga: The who's who of INX Media". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  8. "Indrani Mukerjea officially appointed as CEO INX media". agencyfaqs!. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  9. Anushree Madan Mohan (21 January 2007). "Mukerjea in new avatar as HR wiz". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  10. Sahad PV (14 March 2007). "Peter Mukerjea's TV Venture Announced". GigaOM. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  11. "Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea to step down at INX Media". afaqs!. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  12. Aminah Sheikh (7 May 2007). "INX Media gets foreign consults for TV foray". Business Standard. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  13. Shuchi Bansal (26 March 2007). "Reaching for the stars, again". Business Standard. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  14. "Indrani Mukerjea plans bouquet of channels". CNBC-TV18. MoneyControl.com. 14 March 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  15. "Vir Sanghvi to head new English news channel". Press Trust of India. Daily News and Analysis. 14 March 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  16. "Peter Mukerjea joins INX Media officially as chief strategy officer". agencyfaqs!. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  17. Ravi Teja Sharma; Pritha Mitra Dasgupta (29 August 2015). "How Indrani and husband Peter Mukerjea lost the plot at INX Media". Economic Times. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  18. Ajita Shashidhar (26 January 2008). "'She's the slave driver and I'm the slave'". Outlook Business. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  19. Ruchika Shah (31 August 2015). "Peter - Indrani Mukerjea saga: Here's how the money travelled". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  20. Alam Srinivas (12 September 2015). "Peter Mukerjea: Catch a falling star". Tehelka Magazine. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  21. Aminah Sheikh (12 September 2008). "INX to mop up Rs 600 cr, plans 10 new channels". Business Standard. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  22. "NaiDunia, Pocha buy NewsX". indiantelevision.org.in. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  23. Dhaleta Surender Kumar; Sapna Nair (12 January 2009). "NewsX sale part of a larger INX plan". afaqs!. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  24. "9XM Media and its band of music channels". TelevisionPost. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  25. Ajita Shashidhar (2 March 2014). "9X: Hitting a High Note". Business Today. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  26. Sruthijith KK (2 February 2009). "Cash Crunch At INX Media: Outstandings To Producers Mount". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  27. Madhav A Chanchani (11 March 2009). "Indrani and Peter Mukerjea Quit Management Positions At INX Media". VCCircle.com. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  28. Boby Kurian; Shrija Agrawal (9 April 2010). "New Silk Route Eyes Buyout Of PE Investors In INX Media". VCCircle.com. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  29. N Sundaresha Subramanian (28 August 2015). "Indrani quit most of her companies by mid-2011". Business Standard. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  30. "50 Women to Watch". The Wall Street Journal. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  31. "Indrani Mukerjea awarded the prestigious 'Uttar Ratna' award". INX Media Press Release. afaqs!. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  32. "9X Founder Indrani Mukerjea No Stranger To Controversies". Focus News. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  33. "Peter Mukherjea, Vir Sanghvi declare truce". Business Standard. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  34. Sruthijith KK (23 January 2008). "Changes likely at top level in INX News". Live Mint. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  35. "Vir Sanghvi quits Mukerjea's NewsX as CEO". Business of Cinema. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  36. "Vir Sanghvi quits NewsX". rediff.com. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  37. "Drama at NewsX". Press Talk. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  38. "Trouble at News X". The Hoot. 2 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  39. Vikram Chaudhary (1 February 2008). "NewsX launch in limbo as six more editorial heads quit". Financial Express. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  40. "Why are we going to this man?". The Hoot. 2 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  41. "Dasmunsi weighs in to NewsX fracas". Indiantelevision.com. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  42. Anubhuti Vishnoi (1 February 2008). "Newsroom war reaches Ministry". Financial Express. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  43. Abhijeet Mukherjee (2 February 2008). "Dasmunsi asks Finance Ministry to probe source of funding for INX; meanwhile, Executive Editor Avirook Sen sacked". exchange4media. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  44. Rachit Vats (2 February 2008). "INX finds itself mired in controversy". afaqs!. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  45. Rahul Kanwal (29 August 2015). "Indrani and others caused deliberate loss of Rs 168 crore to NEWS X". India Today. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  46. "Avirook Sen, Rajesh Sundaram send legal notices to INX News over "fraudulent termination" of employment". exchange4media News Service. exchange4media. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  47. Avirook Sen (16 October 2010). "My Settlement with NewsX". OPEN magazine. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  48. Nivedita Mookerji (19 April 2008). "'Buzz of investors pulling out rubbish'". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  49. Meetu Jain (7 September 2015). "Muddy Waters Flow Through This Channel: SFIO investigates the many levels of fraud the Mukerjeas committed in NewsX". Outlook India. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  50. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (12 November 2013). "A 'sham' transaction?". The Hoot. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  51. Khushboo Narayan (8 September 2015). "ED probes INX Media for 'forex violations'". Indian Express. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  52. Shrimi Choudhary (17 September 2015). "Sheena Bora murder: ED may reopen probe into Mukerjeas' money dealings". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  53. Sharad Vyas (9 December 2015). "Indrani, Peter laundered Rs. 275 crore: CBDT report". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  54. Sai Manish (3 September 2015). "Peter Mukerjea used Indrani as a money funnel". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  55. Avarnita Mathur (22 September 2015). "ED to begin reinvestigation of INX deal under money laundering act". India Today. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  56. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/sheena-bora-murder-case-peter-mukerjea-indrani/1/874923.html
  57. "TV top gun's wife held in murder case". The Telegraph. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  58. Ahmed Ali (25 August 2015). "TV honcho Peter Mukerjea's wife Indrani arrested on murder charges by Mumbai Police". Times of India. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  59. "CBI Takes Over Probe Into Sheena Bora Murder Case". Indo-Asian News Service. NDTV. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  60. Gautam S Mengle; Rahi Gaikwad; Devesh Pandey (19 November 2015). "CBI arrests Peter Mukherjea, chargesheets Indrani". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  61. "Peter, Indrani Mukerjea Siphoned Off Funds From 9X Media: CBI". Press Trust of India. NDTV. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  62. "Sheena Bora murder case- Peter, Indrani siphoned off funds from INX deal: CBI". Express News Service. Indian Express. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  63. Ruchika Shah (7 October 2015). "Was it a Rs 1,000-crore secret that Indrani Mukerjea wanted to take to her grave?". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  64. "Whether funds parked in Sheena Bora's overseas account led to her murder?". Press Trust of India. Economic Times. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  65. Vijay Kumar Yadav (22 September 2015). "Indrani, held for Sheena Bora's murder, to live with 27 undertrials in Mumbai prison". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  66. "Sheena Bora Murder Case: Indrani Mukerjea's Jail Diaries". Mid-Day. NDTV. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.