The mother and childhood friend of Chandrabhan Sanap, the prime accused in Hyderabad techie Esther Anuhya’s murder case, have been named as main witnesses by Mumbai police’s crime branch Unit 7 in its charge sheet. Sanap’s sister, Sunita Avhad is also one of the witnesses in the case. Sanap allegedly killed Esther near Kanjurmarg on January 5 this year.
The slain Esther Anuhya
A crime branch officer said, “The friend is the prime witness as Sanap had taken him to the crime scene after the murder. After that the duo went to Sanap’s mother’s Kanjurmarg residence where the friend informed her about the murder.”
However, crime branch officials alleged that they are not relying too much on Sanap’s mother, sister and friend as they might retract their statements at the last minute. To ensure that Sanap doesn’t go scot-free, cops have included solid evidence in the 1,500-2,000 page-long charge sheet, which will be filed at the Esplanade court on May 25.
Senior Police Inspector Venkat Patil from Crime Branch Unit 7, who is the investigating officer, said, “We will appeal for death sentence of the accused under sections 376 (A) (rape), 302 (murder) and 397 (robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). We have made a water-tight case by recording the statements of 13 witnesses.”
The witnesses include all those people who had seen Sanap and Esther including a parking lot attendant, a cold drink seller and few auto-rickshaw/taxi drivers stationed at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) station. A tea-stall owner near Kanjurmarg, the Nasik-based astrologer whom Sanap had showed his birth chart, and the beggar, who got Esther’s bag from Sanap have also been named in the charge sheet. Cops have also mentioned about the bag, which was recovered from the beggar, Esther’s clothes, which were found in her sister’s shop and her glasses. Another officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Despite searching for a week, we couldn’t recover Esther’s laptop which Sanap had allegedly thrown into the Kadavli River at Titwala. The laptop would have been a catalyst in the case.”
The events according to the charge sheet
On January 5, Esther returned to Mumbai from a vacation in Hyderabad at LTT station. Sanap posed as a taxi-driver and after sharing his telephone number, he convinced her that he would drop her safely at her Andheri hostel. To ensure that Sanap didn’t take undue advantage of her, Esther pretended to call someone and gave his details.
When Esther saw Sanap’s bike, she was firm that she wouldn’t travel with him. But again Sanap convinced her that instead of spending money on a taxi, she could give him the money. “The accused kept her bag on the tank of his bike. Esther got scared that he would flee with her bag and jumped onto the bike,” said an officer.
Sanap’s intention changed mid-way
Sanap revealed that he wanted to steal Esther’s bag. But she jumped onto his bike and sat behind him. In the process, when she had physical contact with him, his intention changed and he decided to rape her. An officer said, “He decided to rob her near Eastern Express Highway. But his intentions changed and decided to sexually abuse her near Kanjurmarg and then flee with her bag.”
After reaching Kanjurmarg, the accused started threatening her and tried to force himself on her. “Sanap claimed that he didn’t rape Esther. But medical reports showed that she had internal injuries on her private parts,” added the officer.