A Vijayawada Women Sessions Court on Thursday sentenced the 3 accused in the sensational kidnap and murder case of 10-year-old P Naga Vaishnavi in 2010, to life imprisonment till death.
The verdict comes eight years after Vaishnavi's death, with the accused being identified as Morla Srinivas Rao, Jagadeesh, and Venkata Rao.
The accused can now approach the Hyderabad High Court for further appeal.
“This is not a case of direct evidence. It is a case of circumstantial evidence. It has been proved on three counts. Not all charges have been proved against the accused,” the lawyer for chief accused Srinivas Rao told the local media.
The daughter of popular BC leader and liquor trader Palagani Prabhakar Goud, Vaishnavi was kidnapped and murdered on January 30, 2010, while on her way to school with her elder brother in their car.
The accused intercepted the car she was travelling in on motorbikes and stabbed and killed the driver, when he stepped out. As Vaishnavi's brother fled, the accused picked the minor girl up.
The case had resulted in a major outcry in the city, as the police had stated that Vaishnavi suffocated to death, following which the accused dumped her body in an electrical blast furnace in an industrial unit in Auto Nagar in Guntur.
Her mortal remains were later found by the police and sent to the Guntur Government General Hospital for a post-mortem.
Tragically, upon hearing the news of his daughter's death, Prabhakar suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.
Vaishnavi's mother too, passed away around two years ago during the trial, and is now survived by two elder brothers and extended family members.
The girl's earrings, which were collected from the furnace, played a crucial role in the investigation. Eyewitnesses who saw the culprits killing the car driver also testified and gave their statements in court.
According to reports, 79 witnesses produced by the prosecution were cross-examined along with 30 witnesses produced by the defence lawyers.
The industrial unit where the furnace was located, was reportedly owned by accused Srinivasa Rao, who had sent all 30 workers and the watchman of the unit home on the particular day that the body was disposed.
The police also corroborated their claims by cross checking call records of the accused.
Vaishnavi was the daughter of Prabhakar and his second wife, Narmada Devi. The couple also had 2 sons.
Prabhakar's first marriage turned out to be childless. The police said that three relatives of Prabhakar's first wife conspired to kidnap Vaishnavi and force the businessman to part with a large tract of his property and write it in the name of his first wife.
All three accused are relatives of Prabhakar's first wife.
Speaking to a media outlet, Naga Vaishnavi’s brother said, “Many years have passed. It has been 10 years. Depending on the intensity of the case, my wish is that a gory crime like this should not occur again. My sister was born in 2000. She is 7 years younger to me and she was the apple of everyone’s eye in the house. We miss her a lot and we have our memories but we can’t stay depressed. We have to move on.”
“When my sister and father died, the burden fell on our mother. She passed away in 2016 and we have had the moral support of our family members, but my brother and I have taken care of ourselves since then,” he added.