A Mumbai court on Friday awarded the death penalty to Chandrabhan Sanap, the prime accused in the rape and murder of Andhra Pradesh-based software engineer Esther Anuhya, terming it as "rarest of rare" case.
"The case falls under the category of the rarest of rare, hence the accused is awarded death sentence...he must be hanged by his neck till he is dead," said Special Women's court judge Vrushali Joshi pronouncing the verdict.
The prosecution demanded death for Sanap, saying that sympathy to him would send a wrong signal and neither the victim's parents nor the society would feel that justice has been delivered.
On the other hand, pleading for mercy, the defense lawyers had argued that the convict had undergone reformation while in prison.
On October 27, the 29-year-old driver was convicted under IPC Section 302 (murder), Section 376 (rape) and Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) for raping and killing the 23-year-old techie, after the court agreed with the prosecution, which had examined 39 witnesses in the case.
Mumbai Police's crime branch had arrested Sanap in early March last year about two months after the murder of the young techie, who was a native of Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh and was employed as assistant system engineer with IT major TCS at its office in suburban Goregaon.
Investigators caught Sanap after an exhaustive scrutiny of 36 CCTV footages at the railway station and grilling of about 2,500 people.
The victim went missing from Lokmanya Tilak terminus near Kurla after arriving by train from Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of January 5, 2014.
According to police, Sanap spotted her sitting alone at the railway station and offered to drop her off at Andheri on his two-wheeler. Subsequently, he took her to an isolated spot and strangled her when she resisted his attempt to rob her.
The decomposed body of the techie was found off the Eastern Express Highway in suburban Bhandup on January 16, 2014.
Sanap, who worked as a porter here and then as a driver in Nashik, is a history-sheeter.