A day after the Hyderabad High Court acquitted P Satyam Babu in the murder case of Ayesha Meera in Vijayawada, the police said that they planned to challenge the verdict in court.
The murder took place in 2007, and Satyam Babu was convicted by a Vijayawada women's special sessions court in 2010, and sentenced to imprisonment for life.
However, even family members of the victim, along with several activists, had alleged that Satyam was framed to let a politician's family off the hook.
The HC has now directed the Andhra Pradesh government to pay Rs 1 lakh compensation to the youth, who spent eight years in jail without any evidence of his involvement. It also ordered disciplinary action against the police officers who investigated the case.
When the media reportedly asked Vijayawada Police Commissioner Gautham Sawang, he said, "We are surprised at the High Court orders. We will initiate necessary legal action after receiving the judgement copy. I have no further comment."
Speaking to the Times of India, a senior police officer, who was part of the investigation said, "Satyam tested positive in all the tests we conducted. He confessed to the crime and even narrated the sequence of crime scene. The DNA from the samples (semen, footprint and letter left in the hostel) collected from the spot matched with Satyam’s DNA. Isn’t it enough to prove his guilt?"
The victim was a first year pharmacy student and was living in a private ladies hostel in Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada. On the night of December 27, 2007, her blood-stained body was found in the hostel's bathroom, with multiple stab injuries.
In August 2008, almost a year after the victim was killed and the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took up the case, the police arrested Satyam Babu.
Satyam Babu was arrested in a cell phone robbery case on August 17 that year, and the police had claimed that he had confessed to her murder during interrogation.
However, several activists had alleged that the police arrested Satyam Babu only so they could let the grandson of former deputy CM Koneru Ranga Rao off the hook.
The parents of the victim, Shamshad Begam and Iqbal Basha, also alleged that relatives of the then state Minister Koneru Ranga Rao were involved in the rape and murder. They also alleged that a Dalit youth was being made a scapegoat to save the real culprits.
Satyam Babu's arrest was condemned widely and called an eyewash as he could barely walk properly, due to a neurological disorder. The youth had been suffering from GB Syndrome, which had badly affected his nervous system.