VIJAYAWADA: In a significant judgment, the Hyderabad High Court on Friday acquitted Pidatala Satyam Babu, who was sentenced to life in the sensational rape and murder case of a student Ayesha Meera in her hostel at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada in 2007.
The court also directed the Andhra Pradesh government to pay Rs 1 lakh in compensation to the youth who spent eight years in jail without any evidence of his involvement.
Ayesha Meera from Tenali, who was pursuing Pharmacy course in Vijayawada, was found murdered in her hostel room at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada on December 26, 2007.
The incident triggered public outrage, prompting the police to initiate quick action. Satyam Babu’s arrest triggered anger among the public, including the Ayesha’s family members, who suspected the role of bigwigs in the murder.
The bench of Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy and Justice M S K Jaiswal allowed the criminal appeal filed by Satyam Babu challenging the order of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Mahila Court in Vijayawada, Krishna district, for convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment in the case. The bench ordered immediate release of the appellant.
The bench heard the matter extensively and took note of the issues raised by counsels V Pattabhi and Vasudha Nagaraj, appearing for the appellant, regarding the shoddy investigation. It took into consideration the crime scene and production of DNA samples after the arrest of accused.
There were various shortcomings in investigation too: the original complaint said a group had indulged in the crime but only Satyam Babu was named as the accused. An innocent person was shown as the accused and was proceeded against while the real culprits escaped, the bench observed.
While setting aside the lower court’s order dated September 29, 2009, the bench reprimanded the then investigating officers and directed the AP government to initiate disciplinary action against those officers.
Currently lodged in the Rajamahendravaram Prison, Satyam Babu is expected to be released on Saturday.