Esther Anuhya murder: How a mobile thief became a brutal killer

Mar 04, 2014, 11:14 IST | Vinay Dalvi and Sagar Rajput

Police investigations have revealed that Chandrakant Sanap used to transport manufactured jeeps from a factory in Nashik and had several theft cases against him during his tenure as a porter

With the prime accused in the Esther Anuhya murder case in police custody, several details about his past have emerged. During interrogations, cops found that Sanap used to transport new jeeps manufactured in a factory in Nashik. “He used to take it from the Nashik factory to different destinations,” said Rakesh Maria, commissioner of police, Mumbai. 

Chandrakant Sanap Chandrakant Sanap
Before and After

Police further revealed that Sanap, during his tenure as a porter, had several cases of mobile thefts and bag lifting against him. He had cases registered against him in police stations at Gamdevi, Madh, Nashik, Itarsi Junction and some other places in Madhya Pradesh.

The accused, Chandrakant Sanap, was arrested by the Crime Branch yesterday. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The accused, Chandrakant Sanap, was arrested by the Crime Branch yesterday. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Sanap married thrice his first wife died, and the second one left him. He was staying with his third wife and 14-month-old son in Nashik. Cops added that till two years ago, he used to stay with his parents at Kanjurmarg. They added that Sanap was an alcoholic and a womaniser, due to which he had to sell his porter’s badge and move to Nashik.

“He had come to Mumbai as his driving licence had become invalid and he wanted to renew it. But he ended up spending all his money on liquor and in Kamathipura. So he decided to snatch a bag at LTT and make some easy money. That’s when he met Esther on January 5,” said an officer from the Crime Branch.

Sanap fled to Nashik
After the crime, the accused went to Mulund check naka and flagged a tanker bound for Nashik. There, he took a bath in the Godavari at Ramkund, a holy spot. He then left for Trimbakeshwar, located at the source of the Godavari. He saw an astrologer there, who told him that hardships lay in store for him. He advised that Sanap perform some rituals. After the pooja, Sanap started wearing white clothes, and applying a teeka on his forehead.

Bag found, laptop missing
The Mumbai Crime Branch has managed to recover Esther’s trolley bag from a beggar in Nashik. The accused had given it to the beggar, telling her that his wife has died and that he wanted to donate her belongings. The police are still searching for Esther’s laptop from the accused, which, he says, he threw in the river.

Family relieved at arrest
The family of the slain software engineer, who had criticised the police for the slow investigation, expressed relief at the arrest. They attended the press conference by CP Rakesh Maria to announce Sanap’s arrest, at Prerna police hall near Azad Maidan. “We are happy and are waiting for the Mumbai police to bring in more clues and recover all her belongings, so that we confirm that he is the real accused,” said Arun Kumar, Esther’s uncle.

'Case could have been cracked earlier'
The Kurla GRP has revealed that the case could have been cracked on February 16. After the police nabbed Sanap on February 16, they learnt that he had grown a moustache and beard, to sport a look different from his appearance on the day of the crime.

They asked for call detail records (CDR) of Sanap once they identified him, but as it was taking a lot of time, they asked him to visit the police station every day. They also informed the Kanjurmarg police about Sanap, since Esther’s body had been found in Kanjurmarg and the local cops were also investigating the case.

The Kanjurmarg police, however, did not take the GRP’s claims seriously. The Crime Branch, meanwhile, got in touch with them. “The Crime Branch had obtained the CDR which showed that Sanap had visited LTT. He had discarded his old SIM card after the murder. He had used five SIM cards in the entire period, which made obtaining the CDR difficult.

Now, the technical aspects as well as his appearance matched. If we had got the CDR earlier, the case could have been cracked on February 16 itself,” said a Kurla GRP officer. Asked about the GRP’s role in the investigations, CP Rakesh Maria said, “It’s important that the case has been detected.”

>> Had cases of mobile thefts and bag lifting lodged against him
>> Spent some time in a Madhya Pradesh jail
>> Took a bath in the Godavari at Ramkund after Esther’s murder

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