In an over 500-page chargesheet filed in the case of rape and murder of a 23-year-old techie, the police have relied heavily on statements of six witnesses who saw the accused, Chandrabhan Sanap, and the victim last at the railway station on January 5, when the woman returned to Mumbai from her native Andhra Pradesh. Her body was later found in Bhandup near the service road off the Eastern Express Highway.
According to the chargesheet, Sanap got into arguments with two of these six witnesses at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus on the day of the alleged crime.
One of the witnesses, Ganesh Shetty (35), who runs a pay-and-park facility outside the station, told the police he saw Sanap enter the parking lot on a motorbike around 4 am on January 5. “The man parked his bike near the RPF office in the parking area. As I was preparing a receipt, he shouted at me saying, ‘Pehchaanta nahi kya? RPF mein hoon, naya aaya hai kya? (Don’t you recognise me? I’m with the RPF, are you new?)’ The man then abused me and entered the station. Having run the pay-and-park service for the last five years, I know most of the railway and RPF staffers. I had never seen this man before and hence I doubted his claim,” Shetty’s statement reads. He added that he saw Sanap and the victim leave on his bike at 5:30 am.
Another witness, Shivkaran Patel, who runs a soft drink stall at the railway station, told police he opened his stall around 4:15 am on January 5 and nearly 10 minutes later, Sanap came to buy a half-litre bottle of a beverage. Patel said they also had a tiff over change.
Two railway technicians also recalled seeing Sanap on platform number five around 4:20 am.
Further, two taxi drivers have also told police that they saw Sanap exiting the station with the victim and individually asked him if he needed a taxi, to which he replied he already had one waiting.
Astrologer Prasad Shukla, on whose advice Sanap conducted rituals a day after the alleged crime, has told the police that the accused confessed to having committed “ghastly atrocities” on a woman and asked if the rituals would wash off his sins.
“The rituals you have just completed will give you peace of mind. However, an unpardonable act can only be forgiven by God,” Shukla claims to have told Sanap then.
Sanap was taken to the astrologer by his mother Jijabai Sanap (55). In her statement to the police, Jijabai claims Sanap returned home on January 5 with two bags. “I felt he might be under the influence of some evil force as he had married three times, was an alcoholic, could not give up stealing and did not get along with his third wife. I decided that the evil force needed to be exorcised,” Jijabai’s statement reads.
The police has charged Sanap for murder, rape and destruction of evidence.