The New Year is an occasion for new beginnings. A moment when those of us who’ve made mistakes or fallen on bad times can start afresh. Quite simply it’s a second chance.
As 2017 rolls out I’ve deliberately chosen to write about a friend from Doon. We were at school together in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. At the time his name was Pratim Mukerjea. You know of him as Peter Mukerjea. He’s accused of complicity to murder and he’s been in jail for over a year.
I don’t intend to delve into the details of the scandal surrounding Peter. I’m only familiar with the broad outline and many of you probably know the story far better. Indeed some, I’m sure, are masters of the minutiae. I also don’t intend to comment on Peter’s innocence or guilt. That’s for a court to determine although I’d like to believe he’s wrongly accused.
Last fortnight I received a letter from Peter. It was an attempt to explain matters from his standpoint. Since the Indrani-Sheena-Peter scandal is so often written about and discussed it might interest you to hear Peter’s side of the story. He definitely wants it known. This is what he’s written:
“I’m holding up fine but I get the sense that perception is drifting towards – “How could he not know?” “That’s unbelievable”. The fact is I didn’t know a crime had been committed. I wasn’t told. I wasn’t part of the plan. I didn’t know until August 2015 when Indrani was arrested. How often is it that a husband doesn’t know what a wife is up to, until she decides to tell him?
It was never admitted to me by Indrani that Sheena was her daughter. She was introduced to me and everybody else that Sheena was a sister (sic).
There were so so many other such details about Indrani that I only got to learn after her arrest last year and till then I was blissfully in the dark. Till today, I’ve never met her parents for instance. I’ve never visited her family home in Guwahati till today despite being married to her for almost 15 years. Those were, sadly, all part of the secrets she kept from me for reasons best known to her.
Also, I have never ever till today taken any money or favours from anyone in the form of gratification. So to claim that I siphoned large sums of money into dodgy bank accounts is preposterous. God has been kind and I’ve been paid well so I never needed to steal to supplement my income or my earnings. These are claims that the CBI will never be able to prove as there isn’t any such money tucked away.
I’m looking forward to a trial when I’ll get an opportunity to clear my name but till that time I could certainly use your help in helping to change this perception.”
Now I’m not asking you to believe Peter. Each of us must decide for ourselves. But I feel the least I can do for a friend is make his side of the story available so you can consider it if you want. His letter is more than a cry for help, it’s also a plea for understanding. But it might even be the truth. Ultimately, a judge will decide if it is or is not.