VIJAYAWADA: Whodunnit? The murder of B Pharmacy student Ayesha Meera in her hostel room at Ibrahimpatnam on the outskirts of Vijayawada on the intervening night of December 26 and 27 in 2007 still remains a mystery.
A lot of water has flowed under the Prakasham Barrage and Andhra Pradesh has been divided into two States since that dark night when the girl was brutally murdered. But the culprits are yet to be brought to book as two investigations, one by State police and another by Special Investigation Team (SIT), have failed to nail the criminals.
Now the million dollar question is: Will the CBI, which has been entrusted with the task of probing the case by the Hyderabad High Court, be able to unravel the mystery, given the fact that the material evidence was destroyed. Another sticking point is the withdrawal of general consent to the CBI to carry out its operations in the State by the government. This may not pose much of a hurdle, but the question that begs an answer is will the State police extend wholehearted cooperation to the CBI in the light of prevailing uneasy relations between the Centre and the State?
According to some sceptics in the State police department, the central agency may find the task daunting and face the same difficulties as the SIT did.
When TNIE asked, a senior police official, on condition of anonymity, said the case might prove a wild goose chase for the CBI in the absence of evidence. State’s withdrawal of general consent to the CBI also puts a question mark on kind of cooperation the agency will get from police.
“It would be a difficult task for CBI to travel back in time and lodge fresh FIRs. Without material and circumstantial evidence, it may not be able take the case to a conclusion. We cannot comment on the role of the State police at this stage as the case investigation is being monitored by the court. Government will take a call when its support is sought,” the official said.
“In their re-investigation, SIT officials failed to obtain material and corroboratory evidence either from local court or from the suspects,” said the police official.
While acquitting Pidthala Satyam Babu, a petty criminal, who spent eight years in jail on charges of murdering Ayesha, the HC ordered the State government to constitute a SIT to investigate the case afresh. But the SIT failed to unravel the mystery and the HC, unhappy over the case progress, ordered a CBI probe on 29 November.
High Court criminal lawyers such as Vemulapati Pattabhi and others, who have been closely following the case, suggest that the CBI pick up the thread left by the SIT.
“Narco test on seven main suspects — Koneru Satish Babu (grandson of former minister K Ranga Rao), Abburi Ganesh, Chintha Pawan Kumar, hostel warden Inampudi Padma, her husband Inampudi Siva Ramakrishna and hostel inmates P Sowmya and K Kavitha — in the case is the only hope for the CBI.
This can help it crack the mystery behind the decade-old murder,” he said. On the other hand, CBI officials are tight-lipped on the probe that is yet to be launched. “We have not received any order from the High Court. Higher-ups will take a decision and announce investigating officer and his team,” said an inside source in the CBI.