A day after the arrest of a 43-year-old man for allegedly pushing a three-year-old girl to death from his seventh floor flat in Colaba, the police are investigating whether it is a case of human sacrifice.
The investigators are yet to book him under sections of the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act. But they have started looking for evidence after the accused, Anil Chugani, is said to have confessed that he had been told he was a victim of black magic and the remedy was the sacrifice of a human life from a pair of twins.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Subhash Khanvilkar (Colaba division) confirmed the development and said that the accused was produced in court and has been remanded in police custody for seven days. “We are looking for evidence,” he added.
The police said that Chugani also maintained a dairy in which he had allegedly penned down the developments. They refused to confirm whether such a dairy was recovered. If it exists and the investigators find it, they believe it could be crucial evidence under the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act. “Meanwhile we have also learnt that the accused would spend much of his time at a temple which is within 100m from his house,” said an officer.
Chugani was arrested on Saturday soon after the incident. He is currently booked under charges of murder and Colaba police said it was likely they would book him under the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act.
He is unemployed and stays in the seventh floor flat of Ashoka apartments near Radio Club in Colaba. When he was 15 years old, Chugani shifted to Morocco along with his parents but he keeps coming back to Mumbai. This time, he arrived in Mumbai six months ago, said police.
Shanaya, the three-year-old victim, was the daughter of Rameshlal Hatiramani, who runs an import export business and stays in Sangam Bhavan, adjacent to Ashoka apartments. Shanaya has a twin sister Shreya, and a six-year-old brother Jay.
The police said that Chugani and Hatiramani are childhood friends. Chugani had insisted that his friend send his children to play at his place. “He spotted an instant target as his childhood friend had twin daughters,” said an investigator.
On Saturday, at around 6.30 pm, he went to the Hatiramani house and asked the children to accompany to his place. “As they had not been to his place earlier, Hatiramani asked his domestic help Kakuli Mandal to go with them,” added an officer.
However at around 7.45 pm, Chugani took Shanaya in his bedroom, locked it from inside and threw her from the window. After the residents heard a loud thud, a neighbour called and informed her father about the incident following which they rushed to the spot and took her to St George hospital where she was declared dead during treatment. She was later transferred to JJ hospital for post-mortem.
A forensic expert said the three-year-old died due to blunt trauma injuries caused by the fall. “There are no other physical wounds indicative of a sexual assault, but we have preserved vaginal swab for testing to confirm,” a doctor said.