The prosecution in the case of the gangrape and murder of software engineer Nayana Pujari on Monday recorded the testimony of Abhijit Pujari. Nayana was raped and murdered by a gang of four in October 2009.
Special public prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar examined Pujari in an in-camera hearing before the special court judge Sadhana Shinde. Pujari, an employee of a software company, was found murdered in the Zarewadi forest in Rajgurunagar, Khed on October 8, 2009.
The Khed police had registered a case against unidentified persons, but had later transferred the case to the Yerawada police as Pujari had gone missing from Kharadi. Her body was found a few days later from the highway, following which police had arrested four persons — Yogesh Raut (24), Rajesh Chaudhari (23), Mahesh Thakur (24), all from Khed, and Vishal Kadam (26) of Satara. Chaudhary later turned approver.
Answering questions posed by Nimbalkar, Pujari said that he married Nayana in the year 2006 and that the family had shifted to Pune for work in 2007. He said that on the day of the incident, Nayana had left home for work at 9 am.
He said that at about 8 pm, he had received a call from her saying that she will take a cab or a bus back home because she had missed her company bus. He said that as she did not return home even after many hours, he had tried to call her and her colleagues to find out. Nayana’s colleagues, he said, told him that Nayana had left hours ago. After he failed to trace her, he — along with a friend — went to the police station and registered a missing person’s complaint. He said that the next day the police had called him to the police station and had informed him that money was withdrawn from Nayana’s account.
On October 9, the police asked him to come to the police station and informed him that they had found a dead body and took him to the morgue for identification. He identified the disfigured and decomposed body as Nayana’s.
The defence lawyer B A Aloor will now cross-examine Pujari on the next hearing. Pujari’s evidence was not recorded earlier as main suspect Yogesh Raut had escaped from police custody on September 17, 2011. He was re-arrested by Pune Police last year and the prosecution secured his presence in the court.
After Raut’s escape, the other suspects were to be tried separately. All suspects are now being tried jointly.
The trial was earlier transferred from the court of principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar to the special court set up to expedite trials related to atrocities against women, following a Bombay HC order to this effect following the gangrape and murder in Delhi last year.