The murder of 23-year-old software engineer Esther Anuhya might have been premeditated, feel the police. A ‘close’ friend has been detained for questioning.
Also, there’s a new twist to the rape angle. The Kalina forensic science laboratory has concluded that she was not raped. The report will be handed over to the Mumbai police soon.
The railway police picked up this ‘close’ friend, a man in his twenties, from Vijaywada on Friday and handed him over to the Mumbai police on Saturday.
Preliminary questioning has revealed that on January 4, when Esther boarded the train from Vijaywada on her way to Mumbai, her friend too boarded the same train. But he was in another compartment. “During the journey, both of them spoke to each other several times over the phone. They spoke for 41 minutes during the entire journey,” a senior police officer said.
Interestingly, the friend, who is training to become a pilot, told the police that he had gone to Shirdi from Vijaywada and had no knowledge about Esther’s murder. “The friend has so far not been able to justify why he went to Shirdi via Mumbai,” the officer said. But it has been ascertained that he left for Shirdi the very same day he reached Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Kurla, January 5, along with Esther. The police are trying to find out if he met Esther at LTT.
The police have verified that on January 4 this man met Esther at Vijaywada station and gave her a tiffin box.
The CCTV footage acquired from outside LTT show a man in his mid-thirties carrying Esther’s bag while she is speaking on the phone, the police said.
The police suspect that this man and Esther’s friend know each other. Also, the person with whom she was speaking to on the phone, in all probability, was her friend.
dna has learnt that Esther and this friend were batchmates at the same engineering in college in Machilipatnam. He is the son of a top-ranking government official. Esther has known this friend for several years. In December 2013, Esther and her friend spoke with each other over the phone for 39 hours.
The police, however, refused to divulge anything more. “We have detained the friend for questioning; no arrests have been made so far. Investigations are at a crucial juncture,” another officer said.
Shivaji Dhumal, senior inspector, Kurla railway police, said: “Two people resembling the unidentified man who was carrying Esther’s bag have been detained.”
In another crucial development, the forensic report says Esther had not been raped. But JJ Hospital had said in its post-mortem report Esther had been raped. The lab came to the conclusion on the basis of biological profiling and DNA samples. “We will soon hand over the report to the police,” a lab source said.
The bed cover recovered from the spot where Esther’s body was found had no blood stains or semen on it, the source said. Also, the body might not have been burnt. Since it was lying in a marshy land, it had decomposed to a level where it appeared that someone had tried to burn the body.