Mumbai: Observing that he would remain a menace to society, the Bombay High Court on Thursday sent Chandrabhan Sanap to the gallows for raping and killing 23-year-old Esther Anuhya, a software engineer. Anuhya had just returned to Mumbai from her hometown in Andhra Pradesh, when met Sanap at the railway station while she was searching for a taxi to reach her hostel. Sanap, posed as a cabbie and offered to ferry Anuhya. Later, it turned out he only had a motorcycle.
As there was no other mode of transport available at that hour, she agreed to go with Sanap who stopped his bike on Eastern Express Highway near Kanjurmarg. Sanap, then dragged Anuhya into the nearby bushes and raped her. When she resisted, he rammed her head against a rock and strangled her using her dupatta. He further used petrol from his bike to set her body ablaze, and then fled from the spot.
Delivering the verdict, a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre said, “Crimes against women are rising and need to be tackled on all fronts. Public abhorrence of the crime must be reflected in the court’s verdict. The judiciary cannot be a mute spectator in a scenario when neither a young girl of two years nor a woman of 70 years feels safe in this country.” The judges had before them an appeal filed by Sanap against the death sentence awarded to him by a special women’s court in December 2015.
Justice Dangre, the female judge on the bench, who authored the verdict, observed, “The attitude of the accused, according to us, deserves a death sentence as we cannot shut our eyes to cases reported day-in and day-out about such young girls and women being raped and victimised.” The bench further said it is time for the judiciary to impose an appropriate sentence, which is proportionate to the crime committed.