Mumbai: Chandrabhan Sanap, the accused in the Esther murder case, has revealed that his original scheme only involved theft, not attempted rape or murder.
After escorting Esther from the platform to his bike on the pretext of dropping her to Andheri, he had intended to flee with her bags.
But because of Esther’s promptness in protecting her belongings, he was forced to take her on the bike. Aroused by the physical contact with Esther on the bike, he decided to try and rape her.
A Crime Branch officer said, “After reaching his bike, Sanap was pretending to convince her. Suddenly, he took her bag, placed it on his bike’s petrol tank and started the engine.
Anticipating that he would flee with her bag, Esther immediately hopped on.” It was this impulsive and desperate attempt to save her valuables that cost Esther her life.
Citing religious reasons, Sanap refused to shave beard and moustache
The Kurla Government Railway Police (GRP), who had detained the accused Chandrabhan Sanap after tracing him to Buldhana on February 16, wanted him to shave his beard and remove his moustache, but the accused told them that he had pledged to God that he would grow it for 11 years.
Not wanting to offend any religious sensibilities, the police let him go, asking him to visit the police station every day. The Mumbai Crime Branch finally picked him up on Friday armed with the Call Details Records (CDR) that showed that Sanap had been present at LTT on January 5, the day of Esther’s abduction.
“Even though he had said he was growing hair for a mannat, we decided to shave off his beard and match his clean-shaven appearance with the grabs taken from CCTV footage,” said a Crime Branch officer. He had also lost about 10 kgs since the crime.
Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police, (Crime), said, “We are trying to corroborate the statements of the bike’s owner Nandkumar Sahu, with that of Sanap. We are also trying to collect more evidence and personal belongings of Esther.” Sanap had confided to his mother about his crimes.
Real intention was robbery
Sanap had reached LTT with an intention of robbing valuables from long-distance trains stationed at the platform. “In the CCTV footage, Sanap can be seen roaming the LTT premises and entering stationed trains to rob valuables. He was unsuccessful till he chanced upon Esther sitting idle at the platform, waiting for daybreak,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Why she didn’t have talk time
The cops noticed that on CCTV footage, Esther kept speaking on her cell phone. She did this to scare Sanap, hoping that he would shy away from causing her any harm. But her phone had no talk-time. “She tried recharging her phone thrice, using her laptop and her debit card. But she did not succeed as she was travelling,” said a police officer.
Bike’s owner not involved
Investigators revealed that Nandkishore Sahu was not involved in burning Esther’s body. An officer said, “Sanap claimed that he had taken Sahu’s bike claiming that he was going to eat bhurji pav. Sahu gave us the same version. After committing the crime, he informed Sahu that he had raped and killed a girl, but Sanap was the only one who returned to burn Esther’s body.” Police will use Sahu’s statement as evidence.
‘This is a bike. Where is your taxi?’
Said a shocked Esther Anuhya when the accused Chandrabhan Sanap tricked her into coming out of the station with him
(Excerpts from the conversation between Sanap and Esther from Sanap’s police statement)
Sanap was loitering around at LTT when he spotted Esther sitting alone at platform number 5
Sanap – Madam kidhar jana hai
Esther did not respond, and ignored Sanap
Sanap – Arey Madam bolo kidhar jana hai?
Main taxi wala hoon. Saste main chhod dunga
Esther – Andheri West
Sanap – Acha ho gaya. Main bhi Andheri hi ja raha tha aur mera taxi bhi Andheri ki hi hai. Main R300 lunga
Before Esther could respond, Sanap pulled her trolley bag and started walking. Esther followed him and pretended to be talking on her cell phone and started murmuring something in her mother tongue. She pretended that she was giving Sanap’s details to her relative. When the duo reached the spot, Esther was surprised to see Sanap standing near a bike and not a taxi
Esther – Ye to bike hai, tumne to taxi bola tha.
Sanap – Madam itne saste main, taxi main kaun chhodega itne raat ko? Chalo. Mere pass petrol bharane ke liye paise nahi the, issiliye main grahak dhund raha tha.
Esther began looking for an auto or taxi but couldn’t locate one. Sanap pulled her bag and placed it on the petrol tank and kick started his bike. Fearing that Sanap would run away with her bag, she jumped on his bike.
Later when Sanap didn’t take a left turn near Kanjurmarg on the Eastern Express Highway junction, Esther got worried and questioned him.
Esther – Yahan se to left lena tha, tum mujhe kahan leke ja rahe ho?
Sanap – Madam yeh shortcut hai. Tumko main 10 minutes main Andheri pahucha dunga.