23-year-old Esther Anuhya disappeared after she reached Kurla station in Mumbai from her hometown in Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours of 5 January, 2014. Her partially burnt body was found only 12 days later.
For nearly a week after Anuhya disappeared, the police had no clue where she was. In fact her body was not even found by the police, but by her family members who had formed search parties, sensing the Mumbai Police's disinterest in the case.
A January 2014 article on Firstpost stated: "But even that grief was outpaced by the outrage they felt — they had told the Mumbai Police on 6 January that they had traced her cellphone's last signal to Bhandup, but not only had the police been unwilling and their response cold, but the body was also eventually found by despairing family members who formed search parties and combed the thicket themselves."
On October 28, a special's women's court in Mumbai convicted Chandrabhan Sanap, the accused for raping and murdering Anuhya.
Another report published during the time of the discovery of the body said: "The delay in finding the body and decomposition could also have destroyed vital clues that could help nail the perpetrators of this dastardly crime and may actually help the rapist-killers go scot free, since media reports have quoted police sources of saying that she might have been raped before being killed."
So, what helped nail the convict?
The police had to depend heavily on witnesses.
According a report on the Mumbai Mirror, the statements of an astrologer and a priest were held against Sanap while convicting him.
The report says that Sanap had visited an astrologer soon after committing the crime and asked for remedies for crimes committed against women. The astrologer then directed him to the priest, who admitted to have faced a similar query from Sanap.
"The astrologer told the court that on the evening of the murder, Sanap visited him along with his mother and look very worried. During their conversation, Sanap asked the astrologer if doing a pooja will remove the 'sins committed against a woman.' The Astrologer then directed them to go to a priest, who testified that Sanap asked him the same question," the Mumbai Mirror report quotes.
While convicting Sanap, Special Judge Vrushali Joshi onserved: "This reflect the accuse's state of mind immediately after commission of the crime."
She added: "Medical evidence proves that she must have resisted the accused but he committed a gruesome act of committing rape and murder of a young promising lady."