India

Peter Mukerjea: India tycoon charged with Sheena Bora murder

Peter Mukerjea Image copyright AFP
Image caption Peter Mukerjea was arrested on Thursday night, following three days of questioning

An Indian media tycoon has been formally charged with the murder of his stepdaughter, police said.

Peter Mukerjea, the former CEO of Rupert Murdoch's Star India network, was arrested in November.

He told Indian media that he stood by his earlier statement that he had nothing to do with her death.

The murder of Sheena Bora, first thought to be Mr Mukerjea's sister-in-law but later found to be his stepdaughter, has gripped India.

Police had earlier named Indrani Mukerjea, Ms Bora's mother, as the main suspect in the case.

They have also arrested her first husband as a co-conspirator in the murder, as well as her former driver who is listed as an accomplice.

The AFP news agency quoted an unnamed police officer as saying that Mr Mukerjea had been charged with the "same offences" as the others.

They have accused him of plotting along with his wife to kill Ms Borah in 2009.

Mr Mukerjea told the Indian Express newspaper that he would study the charges against him in jail, but stood by his assertion that he had "nothing to do with the case and was not aware of the conspiracy".

Image copyright BBC Monitoring
Image caption Indian media outlets have given wall-to-wall coverage to the story

The story, involving hidden identities, allegations and counter-allegations and arrests has gripped Indian media for months now.

It began in May 2012 when an unidentified body was spotted by villagers 100 miles (160km) from Mumbai. Local police collected the skeletal remains, which were reportedly badly burned.

The body was not linked to Sheena's disappearance for more than three years, during which time Mr and Mrs Mukerjea allegedly claimed their daughter had left India for the United States.

Police also allege that Mrs Mukerjea used Sheena's telephone to send messages impersonating her daughter from America and Britain, one of which broke off a relationship.

When the death was linked by police to the media tycoon the case attracted widespread media coverage. Politician Shashi Tharoor called the reports "breathless and hysterical".

Mr Mukerjea has always claimed he knew nothing of the murder and was out of the country at the time.

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