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By Dharmendra Tiwari, Divyesh Singh & Jyoti Shelar, Mumbai Mirror
Oct 3, 2015, 02.23 AM IST
Indrani Mukerjea, held in Byculla jail for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, overdosed on sedatives at 2 pm on Friday. She was taken to JJ Hospital nearby for treatment. At the time this edition was sent to press her condition was described as critical but stable, and that she was breathing unassisted.
Doctors who have monitored her health in prison said they suspect she had begun to hoard the medication since September 9. “She was on a course of Olanzapine and Etizolam. She has stored these tablets for a long time and she must have consumed 8-10 pills,” a jail official told Mumbai Mirror.
The physician who examined her in prison said he received a call at noon on Friday and told that “the patient was not moving”. On examining her, he found that there was no movement of Indrani’s limbs and her pupils were not dilated.
“Indrani was brought here at 2pm. She was unconscious. Her condition was serious,” said JJ Hospital dean Dr TP Lahane. “We conducted a brain MRI and blood tests. We also pumped her stomach and sent the samples for forensic testing.”
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry following Indrani’s hospitalization. The probe will be headed by Bipin Kumar Singh I G (Prisons). Security has been beefed up at JJ Hospital. It is unclear how Indrani was able to stockpile sedatives, which she was prescribed on September 11. According to jail authorities, she consumed two pills a day, one in morning and the other at night, under supervision. Sources at the prison said Indrani was undergoing treatment for anxiety, panic attacks – after she was denied food from home – and insomnia.
“In the past, she has complained of dizziness and has fainted on several occasions following which medical assistance has been provided,” said Bipin Kumar Singh, special inspector general of prisons.
However, a medical examination conducted on September 9 revealed no abnormalities, officials said. Two days later, she began to “feign unconsciousness and had a nervous breakdown”. A jail official said they brushed off her behavior as feigned but put her on a course of medication after she had a blackout. “She was undergoing treatment till September 26 but we’d stopped medication after that,” said Singh. “We have ordered an enquiry to determine how she got access to these pills and how she was able to store them. I spoke to the dean of JJ Hospital and he had said they will come to know about the nature of pills she had consumed after forensic examination and chemical analysis of stomach fluids,’ he added.
Sources at Byculla jail told Mumbai Mirror it is likely Indrani consumed the drugs after being informed of her mother’s death – Durga Rani Bora passed away in Guwahati on Thursday, aged 82. “She was told about the death in the morning and she was disturbed since then,” said Singh.
She had told investigators during questioning that she had consumed anti-depressants frequently when her daughter disappeared in 2012. She had complained of “uneasiness” on occasion after she was arrested on August 25, for which she was prescribed anti-depressants.
When asked if he had news of Indrani’s condition and had visited her at hospital, her husband, Peter Mukerjea, who is the ex-CEO of Star, told Mumbai Mirror. “I am not going to go.”
Indrani was arrested for her alleged role in the murder of Sheena, her daughter from a previous marriage, in April 2012. The two other accused in the case are Shyamvar Rai, Indrani’s former driver and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna.
The case was initially handled by Mumbai Police under the supervision of the then police commissioner Rakesh Maria and later transferred to CBI by the Maharashtra government. The central agency filed a murder case against the three accused last month.
On September 7, Indrani was sent to judicial custody at the women’s wing in Byculla jail.