The Hyderabad High Court on Monday directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Andhra Pradesh police probing the murder of B Pharmacy student Ayesha Meera, to submit a report on the allegations by the victim's parents that pieces of evidence in the case were destroyed.
Ayesha Meera, a 17-year-old pharmacy student from Vijayawada, was brutally killed on December 27, 2007. Her body was found outside the toilet on the second floor of the Sri Durga Ladies Hostel in Ibrahimpatnam, where she was staying.
Ayesha's parents alleged that her clothes and other such material evidence that were seized from the crime scene, were destroyed during the initial stages of the investigation when the case was being heard by a trial court, to protect the real killers of their daughter, who had political connections.
After hearing the petitioners, the court asked Visakhapatnam DIG Srikanth, who is leading the investigation, to find out if any evidence which was presented in the lower court had been destroyed and if the SIT was aware of the allegations.
As the counsel for the Andhra Pradesh government sought time to respond, the court granted four weeks' time.
Last month, the HC questioned the slow investigation process after the SIT hit a roadblock earlier as it wanted to conduct tests on the hostel warden, Inampudi Padma, her husband Siva Ramakrishna, Ayesha’s roommates Sowmya and K Kavitha, and prime accused Koneru Satish Babu, Abburi Ganesh and Chintha Pawan Kumar.
Koneru Satish is the grandson of former Congress minister Koneru Ranga Rao.
However, none of the accused agreed to give their consent to the SIT to conduct the tests.
In August 2008, almost a year after Ayesha was killed and after 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 claimed that he had confessed to Ayesha’s murder during interrogation.
In 2010, the Mahila Sessions Court in Vijayawada sentenced him to life imprisonment for Ayesha’s rape and murder.
Ayesha’s parents had earlier alleged that relatives of minister Koneru Ranga Rao were involved in the murder and that the police had pinned the crime on Satyam Babu to misdirect the investigation.
In April 2017, Satyam Babu was acquitted by the Hyderabad High Court. The court also ordered action to be taken against the police officials who investigated the case.
The government had then decided to re-investigate the case and constituted the SIT.