Five days after her son’s arrest, Jeejabai, Chandrabhan Sanap’s mother, broke her silence and spoke about the events that followed her son’s brutal murder of techie Esther Anuhya on January 5.
In an exclusive interview with mid-day, Jeejabai recounted how he returned home with blood-stained clothes and rushed off to Nashik. He was in such a hurry that he forgot to dispose of the garments that gave him away, leaving it to his mother to burn them in the backyard.
Jeejabai. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
The plight that Sanap’s crime has plunged the family into is evident. Jeejabai pleaded, “Give him death penalty, but please don’t disturb the peace of our family, as we were in no way involve in the murder.” Sanap’s father, who suffers from paralysis, has been kept in the dark about the crime his son committed.
Sanap’s family at their home in Kanjurmarg. His father suffers from paralysis, and the family has kept him in the dark about his son’s crime. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
“On January 5, around 7 am, Chandrabhan came home, his clothes stained with blood. His old friend, Nandkishore Sahu, was with him. They were unusually quiet. After a while, Shahu broke the silence and said, ‘Isse ek bahut bada galti ho gaya (‘He has made a big mistake)’,” said Jeejabai, a resident of Karve Nagar in Kanjurmarg.
Since her son’s criminal record was no secret to Jeejabai, she assumed that Chandrabhan had been caught committing a crime and beaten up by a mob. “I forced them to leave the house right away. 20 minutes later, Chandrabhan returned and pleaded that I leave with him for Nashik, where he lives.
I didn’t want to go, but he claimed that his wife Poonam was not letting him enter his house, as they had been fighting. I accompanied him till Nashik. As soon as we reached, he asked me to leave. I went to Kasara and took a local train back to Kanjurmarg,” Jeejabai said.
She claims that she offered him fresh clothes to change into, but he said he would have to take the bloodstained clothes along with him. He even wrapped them in a plastic bag, but left it in the house.
She said, “I was scared, so I decided to burn them. I didn’t want to get involved in any problems. After coming back from Nashik, I burned the clothes below my building premises, and dumped its ashes in the public dustbin.”
Jeejabai lives with in a one-room-kitchen apartment with her paralysed husband. Sanap’s sister, Sunita Avard, stays in the building across the street and runs an eatery on the ground floor.
Asked if Chandrabhan had told them about the blood on his hands, Sunita said, “We knew that he had done something wrong, but we didn’t have the exact details about the crime. The first time I read about it was when we were called to the Crime Branch they gave us a newspaper to read.”
Wife was unaware
According to the wife Poonam, the couple quarrelled on December 31, on their daughter’s birthday. She said, “He left the next day. I called him on January 13 to ask him where he was, and he said that he was in Jejuri, our native place. I assumed that he had been in Jejuri since his departure.
He returned home on January 15, but kept heading out, but I didn’t ask where he was going.” Poonam added, “In the middle of February, our relatives in Buldana said they needed a driver. Chandrabhan has worked as a driver, so they roped him in and I went along. It is from here that they arrested him.”
Denying any knowledge of his crime Poonam said, “He had just told me that he had gone to drink tea somewhere, after which he met a girl, who asked him to drop her somewhere.
He denied having committed any crime, but when I pressed him, he said he stopped his bike twice and asked her to get down, but as the girl refused, he eventually had to push her into the bushes.” Asked if she would forgive her husband, she said, “My children are so young. Keeping their future in mind, I will have to forgive him and move on with our lives.”
Esther offered to pay Rs 2 lakh
The Crime Branch has learnt that Esther Anuhya begged for her life with her killer, and even promised to pay him Rs 1-2 lakh, if he spared her. But afraid that she would lodge a complaint, he killed her. The police have also found an important witness, a tea vendor, who heard Esther’s cries for help on the morning of January 5, as he was cycling on the highway.
The Crime Branch has also recovered Esther’s clothes from Sanap’s sister Sunita’s lunch home in Kanjurmarg. “We have recovered Esther’s T-shirt, jeans and sunglasses,” said Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of crime.
The Crime Branch recreated the crime scene, with a cop on a bike driving with a bag from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) to the spot in Kanjurmarg where Esther’s charred remains were found on January 16. Chandraban Sanap showed police how he took Esther from LTT to Kanjurmarg.
>> Sanap returned home that day wearing blood-stained clothes, which Jeejabai later burned
>> Sanap told his wife that a girl had asked him for a lift, and that he had pushed her off his vehicle
>> Sister says family was unaware of the gravity of his crime till they were called to the Crime Branch office
- Inputs by Vinay Dalvi