‘Received divine message to sacrifice twins, go to jail for it’

The accused threw a child from the seventh floor of Ashoka Towers in Colaba.

The accused threw a child from the seventh floor of Ashoka Towers in Colaba.

Anil Chughani, the Colaba resident who was arrested for allegedly murdering his friend’s three-year-old daughter on Saturday, has told his interrogators that he received a “divine message” to “sacrifice twins and go to prison for it”, sources said on Monday.

Mr. Chugani (43), a resident of Ashoka Tower in Colaba, was taken into custody on Saturday after he allegedly flung Shanaya Hathiramani (6) out of the bedroom window of his seventh floor apartment. Shanaya was the daughter of his childhood friend Premlal Hathiramani and had a twin sister and an elder brother. He was subsequently arrested and charged with murder under the Indian Penal Code.

Officers who have interrogated Mr. Chugani in the last two days said on Monday he has been totally calm ever since he was taken into custody. “Mr. Chugani himself called the police control room and confessed to what he had done. When our team reached his residence, he opened the door of the bedroom, where he had locked himself, and readily came to the police station,” an officer said.

Mr. Chugani told the police of the troubles he has been facing for the last several years. “He used to work in a garments store in Morocco, where his family members stay, and got married in 2010. Despite nearly 10 years of marriage, the couple did not have a child and he blamed a Moroccan woman for targeting him through black magic. He and his wife came back to Mumbai in May, but she left him shortly thereafter, adding to his depression. Some time during the last month, he claims to have received a ‘divine message’ which was supposed to be the solution to all his problems,” the officer said.

The ‘message’, which Mr. Chugani also jotted down in his diary, allegedly ordered him to sacrifice twins and then go to prison for it. It was only because a few residents of the building saw him throw Shanaya out of the window that he was unable to kill her twin, sources said.

“Mr. Chugani had asked Mr. Hathiramani if he could take the twins with him. When their elder brother insisted on going along, Mr. Hathiramani sent their nanny with them too. As a result, Mr. Chugani could lure only Shanaya to the bedroom first, while the other children were with the nanny. As Shanaya was seen being placed on the window ledge and then falling on the bonnet of a car, some residents rushed up to his residence within five minutes of her fall. Mr. Chugani, sensing that his plan had gone awry, locked himself in the bedroom,” another officer said.

The police have invoked sections of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act against Mr. Chuganiand are conducting corroborative inquiries with his family members. Statements are also being recorded from priests and regular visitors at a temple close to his residence, where he would spend a lot of time every day, officers said.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 8:51:18 pm |