Over a year after the murder of software engineer Antara Das (23) in Talawade, the Pune Rural Police are yet to make a breakthrough in the case. The only person arrested in connection with Das’s murder, Santoshkumar Akhileshwarprasad Gupta(24), an IT professional from Bengaluru, is likely to be discharged, police said.
A senior police officer, who is part of the investigation team, said, “Till date, nothing has been found that links Gupta to the murder. It is likely that he will be discharged from the case. We have no clues about the murderer.”
Suvez Haque, district superintendent of Pune Rural Police, said the investigation was on.
Members of Das’s family, who live in West Bengal, ask, “Who killed Antara?”
Das, an employee of Capgemini, was attacked by an unidentified person while she was walking through Canbay Square, near her office in Talawade, at 8.30 pm on December 23, 2016. The assailant had stabbed her multiple times with a sharp weapon.
A passerby, Satyendra Sinha (36) of Dapodi, saw Das lying in a pool of blood and rushed her to a private hospital, where she was declared dead. Later, Sinha lodged a complaint at Dehu Road police station.
On December 28, police had arrested Gupta in connection with the case. He was booked under section 302 (murder), 120 (b) and 23 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, the police failed to find any evidence against Gupta and a court granted him bail in March 2017. In August 2017, the Pune Rural Police announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for information about Das’s killers.
A native of 24 Pargana in West Bengal, Das had visited Bengaluru in 2015 for an advanced technical training programme in software engineering and she had met Gupta. In April 2016, Das joined Capgemini in Pune. She was living in Nigdi Pradhikaran area as a paying guest.
Das’s family told police that she was harassed by Gupta, due to which she had even blocked his phone number.
Police said probe has revealed that Gupta was in Bengaluru on the day of the murder.
Police have also probed the possibility of Gupta hiring a contract killer, but found no evidence against him. Hence, no chargesheet could be filed against Gupta in the stipulated time of 90 days. A court then released him on bail.
Advocate Rajendra Gade, who is representing Gupta, said, “We are now waiting for the police to discharge Gupta from the case. The arrest has destroyed his career, we hope that the police soon submit to court that Gupta played no role in the murder.”
Meanwhile, Das’s father Debananda Das said, “There has been no update from the police about any developments in the case. I have been facing cardiac issues for the last few months and could not follow up. More than a year has passed, and police say they still don’t have a clue about the murderer. Then who killed Antara?”