CBI questions youth acquitted in Andhra student’s murder

Vijayawada: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which recently began a fresh investigation into a decade-old case of an Andhra girl student’s rape and murder, on Friday questioned Satyam Babu who was acquitted in 2017.

A team of CBI officials were questioning the youth at his house near here. They were also recording the statement of his family members.

The central agency, which took up the investigation on the direction of the Hyderabad High Court in December, will also question the managers of a private hostel where the 19-year-old victim, a B.Pharmacy student, was raped and murdered on the intervening night of December 26-27, 2007.

The CBI registered two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) – one against unknown persons for the rape and murder and another against three employees of a Vijayawada court for destroying the evidence.

In 2008, police claimed that one Satyam Babu, arrested in a cell phone robbery case, confessed to the murder.

A court in Vijayawada, on September 10, 2010, convicted and sentenced Babu to life imprisonment.

The Hyderabad High Court in 2017 acquitted Babu and ordered action against the police officials involved. Subsequently, the state government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct a fresh probe.

The High Court, which was supervising the probe by the SIT, found that evidence in the case was destroyed in the Mahila Court Vijayawada in 2014 even though the appeal against the conviction of Babu was pending in the High Court. Taking serious note of this, the High Court reached the conclusion that only a probe by an independent agency could bring out the truth.

The victim’s parents, both teachers, had alleged that police had pinned the crime on Babu to misdirect the investigation as a relative of a powerful politician was involved in the crime.