Forensic test confirms Indrani Mukerjea had drug overdose: Hospital

Mumbai: Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea, arrested for the alleged killing of her daughter Sheena Bora, had an overdose of anti-depressants, which were not prescribed to her, the J J Hospital authorities here said.

Mukerjea, 46, was admitted to the State-run hospital, where she was brought in a “semi-conscious” condition from her cell in the Byculla Jail in south Mumbai.

She underwent a series of medical tests in the hospital.

“The reports of her urine sample showed a significant increase in the level of benzodiazepine, a class of anti-depressants,” a doctor from the hospital said, quoting from the reports of the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina that came in Monday night.

“The medicine prescribed to her is amitriptyline, which is an anti-depressant, but certainly does not belong to the benzodiazepine class of drugs,” the doctor added.

“How she had an overdose of it (benzodiazepine) will be investigated by the police. Though doctors prescribe the medicines, they are administered by the jail staff,” he said.

Another doctor said an overdose of amitriptyline, which was prescribed to Mukerjea, could be fatal. But she had an overdose of another anti-depressant that was neither prescribed to her nor was fatal in case of an overdose, he added.

J J Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Sanjay Surase said Mukerjea’s condition was now better and that she was taking oral feed. “She is much better today. She is communicating and taking oral feed. She is being treated for fever and pneumonia,” he said.

The city-based Hinduja Hospital had also submitted its report in this connection yesterday and mentioned an “overdose”.

A doctor from the J J Hospital said Mukerjea’s urine samples were sent to the Hinduja Hospital and the private hospital’s report had also confirmed a significant presence of benzodiazepine.

The doctors at the Hinduja Hospital said the presence of a high level of benzodiazepine in Mukerjea’s samples implied that she had consumed the anti-depressant in a large quantity.

In October 2015, Mukerjea was taken to the J J Hospital from the Byculla women’s prison in an unconscious state due to a suspected drug overdose.

If a patient is on an anti-depressant, the benzodiazepine level in his urine should be about 200. However, in Mukerjea’s case, the benzodiazepine level in her urine sample at that time was 2,088 and it was mentioned in the Hinduja Hospital’s report in 2015, a doctor at the J J Hospital said.

The Maharashtra Prisons department had earlier ordered a detailed inquiry into a possible drug overdose in the case of Mukerjea, the co-founder of INX Media, who is the prime accused in her daughter Sheena Bora’s murder case.

Bora (25) was allegedly killed and her body disposed of in a forest area in the neighbouring Raigad district in April 2012, according to the police.

Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyamvar Rai were arrested for the crime. Rai had later turned an approver (prosecution witness) in the case.

Meanwhile, a special CBI court here today allowed a plea by Mukerjea’s lawyer, seeking permission to meet her in the hospital.

Allowing the application, Special Judge J C Jagdale said, “As far as the prayer to visit undertrial Indrani Mukerjea is concerned, there is no impediment. However, it has to be remembered that the accused is still hospitalised and under medical supervision. Therefore, it is not advisable to interfere in the said medical treatment.”

The court allowed Mukerjea’s lawyer to meet her at the hospital in the presence of the attendants.