The reports of tests conducted on the body of the 23-year-old software engineer from Andhra Pradesh do not show any traces of arrested accused Chandrabhan Sanap’s DNA. This is the second setback in the Crime Branch’s investigations in terms of evidence, as the victim’s laptop, which could hold crucial evidence, has not been found.
Sanap was arrested by the Crime Branch on March 1 in connection with the alleged rape and murder of a software engineer working in Mumbai. She went missing after reaching the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus railway station on January 5 and was found dead in Bhandup on January 16. Sanap, in his interrogation, has maintained that he tried to force himself on her but was unable to do so.
Shortly after his arrest, the Crime Branch had taken DNA samples from Sanap and sent them to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Kalina to check if traces of his DNA were present on the victim’s body. The reports were sent to the Crime Branch last week.
“We are deciding whether we should request a second batch of tests,” said a senior officer.
Nearly a month after Sanap’s arrest, the Crime Branch is yet to recover the victim’s laptop, which Sanap allegedly took along with the rest of her luggage. According to Crime Branch officials, Sanap opened the laptop on his way from Nashik to Mumbai and his face was captured in the computer’s memory due to an application called VeriFace, which captures an image of whoever tries to start the computer apart from its registered user. The laptop could have helped establish beyond doubt that Sanap was in possession of it.
Sources said much of their case depended on the statement given by Sanap’s friend Nandkishore Sahu. Sanap is alleged to have told him everything that transpired on the morning of the crime, and Sahu also allegedly accompanied Sanap back to the scene of the crime before he fled for Nashik.
“We will be filing the chargesheet in the case soon after we file the chargesheet in the Preeti Rathi acid attack case,” the officer added.
The victim’s father said, “The police had told me that the body had been out in the open for 10 days, and that there was not much hope of DNA tests throwing up a match,” he said.
He added that he still has doubts about the police’s version of how Sanap won her confidence and convinced her to get on his motorbike.
“There are questions in that story that still remain unanswered,” he said.
The Crime Branch has only shown him a photograph of the trolley bag that they claim belongs to the victim, and her father said it “looks like her bag”.
“However, the police have not yet shown me any of my belongings that they claim to have recovered from the suspect’s sister,” he said.