An opportunity was all that 28-year-old Sohanlal Bhartha Valmiki needed to assault Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse with the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai.
Valmiki got that opportunity on November 27, 1973, when Shanbaug was walking through an isolated area of the government hospital in Parel area.
At an isolated corner in the hospital, Valmiki caught hold of Shanbaug and strangled her with a dog's chain in such a manner that it cut the oxygen supply to her brain, and then brutally raped the nurse.
Valmiki then robbed her and fled from the hospital premises.
The then Mumbai police commissioner MS Mugwe ordered a manhunt and Valmiki was nabbed from Pune.
An officer, under whom investigations were carried out, told HT that the brutality of the case ensured that police personnel worked overtime. “We wanted the strictest punishment for the assailant,” said the officer, who did not wish to be named.
But Valmiki was not charged for rape. He was charged with attempt to murder and was convicted for a period of seven years.
By the time the trial started, he had spent a year in prison, and when convicted for attempted murder, had to serve six more years.
Why Valmiki was not charged with rape remains a question that is yet to be answered.
There is a question mark on whether Valmiki can now be charged with murder.
There is little information on the whereabouts of Valmiki and also whether he is dead or alive.
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