Siddhartha Das – the latest piece in the Sheena jigsaw puzzle

Kolkata, Sep 1 (IANS) The Sheena Bora murder case, which has created a countrywide sensation, on Tuesday saw yet another intriguing development, as Siddhartha Das emerged claiming to be the biological father of the victim and having shared a live-in relationship with prime suspect Indrani Mukherjea.

A day after reports emerged that he was in hiding and may have fled to Bangladesh, Das came out in public adding to the array of twists and turns that have emerged since Indrani — wife of former media honcho Peter Mukherjea — was arrested by Mumbai police on August 25 for the murder of her daughter Sheena.

Now settled in Kolkata with a wife and a son, Das, with his face covered, called up media persons to a place far away from his residence in Dum Dum, to tell his side of the story.

Calling Indrani an “ambitious woman” who “yearned for a high lifestyle”, Das described how he met the woman while she was studying in a college in Shillong in 1986 and went on to father their two children — Sheena and Mikhail — while living as live-in partners at her parents’ residence.

“We did not marry. We had a live-in relationship,” Das, with his face covered with a handkerchief and sporting a helmet, told media persons near the Eastern Metropolitan bypass on the city outskirts.

“Sheena was born in 1987. Mikhail in 1988. Sometime later, Indrani dumped me,” said Das, asserting he was willing to undergo a DNA test to prove his paternity.

All these days, there were endless rumours about the identity of Sheena’s father, and the nature of his relationship with Indrani, who had for decades passed off the girl as her sister.

Das’s claims may help investigators put in the right pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the Sheena murder case.

Charging Indrani with dumping him and his children, Das did not hesitate to indict her for the murder.

“Indrani dreamt of having a nice home, a high lifestyle, so maybe money could be the reason. In today’s world, anybody can kill for money,” said Das, as he went on to add “if she has really committed it she deserves to be hanged”.

As the volley of media queries kept on multiplying, Das sped off on his bike promising to hold a press conference in the evening at the city’s Press Club.

A few hours later, Das emerged at the studio of a vernacular news channel as he patiently answered questions about his life and times with Indrani and their two children.

At the Press Club, the buzz was evident as the media crew took positions with their cameras and questions. The clock ticked on but there were no signs of the man. The news that came minutes later, left reporters fuming, there was no booking at the Press Club in Das’s name and he would be addressing the media somewhere else.

Appearing yet again at a different location with his face covered, Das seemed at ease answering queries about his children — “Sheena was born on 11/2/1987, Mikhail was born 9/9/1988, in a Guwahati nursing home.”

Das, however, found it difficult to explain why a father whose daughter was killed in a gruesome manner kept silent and did not approach police?

“The investigation was heading in the right direction. I did not feel I had a role in that. But when it was being reported that I have fled to Bangladesh, I had to come out in the open.

“Why should I go to police? Indrani has been arrested and she has confessed to the crime,” reasoned Das, adding that he was ready to cooperate with police in bringing the guilty to justice.

“I have a family, I am a humble man with a petty job. I didn’t want to rake up my past. I can even lose my job today. The incident has badly affected me, I have to appear before you with my face covered, I haven’t slept for the last few days.”

Even as he barely managed to convince the media, came another snorter — why did you dump your children who were eventually raised by Indrani’s parents.

“My in-laws asked me how will I take care of them when I didn’t have a job. I wanted to keep my children but I didn’t have the means, I had to leave them,” said Das, who has never interacted with his son Mikhail.

“I last talked to Sheena when she was in Class 10. I had called her up at her grandparents’ house and enquired how she was. I never had any kind of interaction with Mikhail,” said Das.

Claiming that he never kept track of Indrani ever since she left him in 1989, Das said he and his current family came to know about Sheena’s murder only through media reports.

“My wife and son are now aware about my past. But they have said they are not concerned over it,” added Das.

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