The Mumbai Police Crime Branch, probing the murder of Andhra Pradesh techie Esther Anuhya, is now of the opinion that the ‘call’ that she was seen making in the CCTV footage at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus might have been a pretend call, which is a frequent practice adopted by women while travelling alone late at night or early in the morning.
Esther (24), a software engineer by profession, reached LTT on January 5 after spending Christmas and New Year with her family, and subsequently went missing. She was last seen walking from the waiting room towards platforms four and five of the station, along with an unidentified man. Later, her body was found in Bhandup on the Eastern Express Highway on January 16.
One aspect that has foxed the police since the beginning is that Esther is seen speaking on the phone while walking alongside the suspect. Her call data records, which have been analysed to the point of exhaustion, do not show any call, either incoming or outgoing, at the time and the police had for a while believed that she was using the suspect’s phone. However, it was unclear that someone who had a phone with a battery that lasted till the next evening should want to use someone else’s phone.
“Frequent conversations with Esther’s family and colleagues have established that she was guarded and would never trust anyone so quickly to use their phone. The same cautious nature indicates that instead of actually making a call, Esther might have simply pretended that she was telling a family member or a friend about her status. The practice is not uncommon among women, and serves to give the impression to autorickshaw or taxi drivers that someone is in constant touch with the passengers,” said a Crime Branch officer.
The officer added that the only other possibility was that Esther made a call using an internet-based application, as such calls do not always show in the CDRs.
Meanwhile, the Crime Branch has for the past few days also been making fresh inquiries with Esther’s colleagues in case some lead was missed during initial investigations. They are being called to various Crime Branch units investigating the case in groups of four or five.
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