Indrani Saga Leaves Indian Media Divided

Shashi Tharoor is a Sympathiser, too, Given his Own Experience in Sunanda Case

The saga involving Indrani Mukerjea and her husbands and paramours has left the Indian media a divided lot.

One bunch wants to save Indrani at any cost and another is determined to expose her crime-ridden life. The case is not just about murder but also commercial fraud (siphoning of funds as it emerged from a Temasek audit and criminal impersonation (sending mails and making calls in the name of her slain daughter, Sheena Bora).

Who knows more skeletons will tumble out of her cupboard as investigations into the murder of Sheena progress!

Admissibility of Confession: Indrani has confessed to the murder more than once to the police. She must have been told to so by her lawyers so she can come out of police custody and get into judicial custody.

Admissibility of a confession in courts has always been in question. Courts often end up exonerating those charged with crime when lawyers are able to convince them that the confession was made under duress and extracted through oppression.

05-1441437772-indraniThe onus then is on the prosecution to establish the merits behind the confession. That is a legal loophole working to the advantage of rich criminals.

Links with Indrani: Journalists who want the media to not go overboard with the Indrani case are those who are closely associated with her and her husband Pritam Mukerjea or those who have a soft spot for her. They are those who love to share the limelight with high-society folk.

Those on the other side of the spectrum may not exactly be driven by journalistic ethics. I can excuse them if they are doing so to capitalise on viewer and reader appetite for gossip.

Allegations from Anonymous People: But giving anonymity to those who give them damning information that can destroy someone’s reputation completely is not something I will encourage. How can we trust anyone who is keen to hide his identity while making startling allegations? This is something the Western newspapers have picked up on, as you will see in this piece in The New York Times.

Chilling details are nonetheless coming out in the Indian media, such as this one in The Times of India which says Indrani applied lipstick and perfume on Sheena’s body while she and her second husband Sanjay Khanna were transporting it to a safe place for disposing it of.

The reasoning from Indrani sympathisers is that:

  • an inept Indian media is carrying out an unreasonable media trial, taking on the roles of the police and judiciary as well
  • cops with an agenda, releasing damaging information to the media

A Forgettable India: Add to this mix the legal community, including lawyers on the prowl for filthy-rich lawbreakers and a compliant judiciary, and what you get is not what you see but a forgettable India where high-profile felons rip the nation apart.

Not to forget an increasingly communal population emboldened by a communal government.

In the end, I won’t be surprised if Indrani comes out unscathed, giving her room to settle down in the UK, a haven for the world’s rich scoundrels! She appears to have spent most of the last three years there anyway.

If the perception is that some TV channels are going to the extreme with incessant coverage on the Indrani scandal, I will agree with it. But I will not brush it aside as an instance of a disturbing media trial, as Shashi Tharoor argues in a piece he has written for the BBC.

He has an axe to grind given all the undesirable media attention he received following his wife Sunanda’s murder not long ago.

Vested interests may be at work from both sides – those smitten by her and those who have come out against her!

Influential Criminals Are Never Brought to Justice: Even with all the media exposure of past crimes, influential offenders have hardly been brought to justice in India. What happened to the Syed Modi murder case?

Former Union Minister Sanjay Singh happily married the badminton champion’s widow Ameeta Kulkarni and managed to escape conviction despite strong evidence pointing to the role of both in the killing.

And why on earth is Suresh Kalmadi still out? The media did relentlessly pursue the case. But he has been merrily attending international sporting events.

Indrani’s age and her inability to speak proper English when she moved to Mumbai are mere trivia – maybe true, may be wrong! Her focus was perhaps on showing herself younger than she is. Why else will she introduce Sheena as her sister, not daughter? All reports available online only show her as 43!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Filed under Sheena murder and Indian Media

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