Mumbai Police, probing the murder of software professional Esther Anuhya, are trying to find out whether the arrested accused's friend, whose bike was used in the crime, did anything that would amount to abetment of the crime or whether he could be made a witness in the case.
Crime branch of the city police yesterday arrested Chandrabhan Sanap (38), who has several cases registered against him and worked as a driver in Nashik, for allegedly murdering Anuhya.
On January 5, Sanap rode the victim to an isolated place off the Eastern Express Highway from Kurla Railway Terminus and he banged her head to the ground, strangled her to death with her stole when she resisted, police said.
The bike used in the offence belonged to his friend Nandkishore Sahu, who had also been informed by Sanap about the killing. "After the murder, Sanap told everything to Sahu. While Sanap escaped to Nashik on the same day, Sahu, who developed a cold feet, went to his native place in Jharkhand, instead of alerting the cops," said a police officer. "We are recording the statements of Sanap and Sahu, who has been brought to the city yesterday itself. After examining their statements, we will get an idea if Sahu's role was limited to merely lending the bike without knowing Sanap's intentions or in any manner he abetted the crime," the officer said.
Based on the facts that emerge during the probe, the investigators would examine if Sahu would be "our star witness or the accomplice of Sanap", police said.
Police are also verifying if the victim, who did not have talk time to speak to her parents or relatives on January 5 morning before sitting on the accused's bike, had made any internet call. "As per the data, there was no outgoing call from the phone just before she sat on the bike of the accused. We are checking if she made any internet call," the officer said.
Meanwhile, Joint Police Commissioner Sadanand Date (Crime) spoke to Anuhya's father S J Prasad today and yesterday. "He (Prasad) has many questions in his mind, but I told him about our investigations and details that have emerged from our probe. I have an impression that he was satisfied," Date said responding to a question.
Sanap has presently been booked under IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence). The accused will also be charged with robbery, kidnapping and attempt to rape, police said. The victim's decomposed body was found off the Eastern Express Highway in suburban Bhandup on January 16. She was returning to Mumbai on January 5 after vacations. The 23-year-old victim, a native of Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, was employed with IT major TCS at its office in suburban Goregaon.