Mumbai: Chandrabhan Sanap, convicted of rape and murder of a software engineer Esther Anuhya in January last year, has been sentenced to death by a Mumbai court on Friday. Special judge Vrushali Joshi termed the incident as rarest of rare while awarding the sentence.
“The case falls under the category of the rarest of rare, hence the accused is awarded death sentence…he must be hanged by his neck till he is dead,” said the judge pronouncing the verdict.
The decomposed body of Esther Anuhya, 23, an employee of Tata Consultancy Services or TCS, was found in Kanjurmarg, a Mumbai suburb, on January 16, 2014.
Sanap was arrested from Nashik on March 3 and was charged with raping and murdering Esther.
Esther, who worked in Mumbai, had arrived from her hometown Vijayawada at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Kurla early on the morning of January 5, after a Christmas break.
Sanap, pretending to be a taxi driver, offered to drive Esther to her hostel in south Mumbai. When they walked out of the station, Esther found there was no cab, but Sanap managed to convince her to accompany him on his motorcycle. Enroute, he stopped the bike on a service road on the Eastern Express Highway near Kanjurmarg on the excuse that he had run out of petrol.
It was a foggy winter morning, and Sanap, 39, dragged Esther into bushes nearby without being spotted and attempted to rape her. When she resisted, he hit her head on a stone many times and strangled her with her dupatta. Sanap then tried to burn Esther’s body in the thick bushes and escaped with her suitcase, which had her laptop and other belongings.
Esther’s family reported she was missing and when she was not found for days, they started looking for her in Mumbai. “We ourselves looked for my daughter after she went missing. And finally, after ten days, her body was recovered. No parent should face the kind of trauma that I have faced,” Mr Jonathan Prasad, Esther’s father had told NDTV.
The only clue the police had was footage from a CCTV at the railway station, which showed a man with a moustache carrying Esther’s bag and walking in front of her. A porter at the station identified Sanap and helped the police catch him.