Eleven years after a girl student was raped and murdered in a private hostel in Vijayawada, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took up a fresh investigation into the case on the direction of the Hyderabad High Court.
The central agency registered two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) -- one against unknown persons for the rape and murder of the 19-year-old girl and another against three employees of a Vijayawada court for destroying the evidence.
While the Hyderabad branch of the CBI has registered the FIR relating to the main case, the second FIR about destruction of evidence was registered in Visakhapatnam. Both the cases were filed on Thursday.
The Hyderabad High Court in November had ordered the CBI probe into the case and had also asked the agency to probe destruction of evidence in the Vijayawada Mahila Court.
The victim, a B.Pharmacy student, was raped and murdered on the intervening night of December 26 and December 27, 2007. Her body was found in a pool of blood in the bathroom at Sri Durga Ladies Hostel.
In 2008, police claimed that one Satyam Babu, arrested in a mobile phone robbery case, confessed to the murder.
The victim's parents, both teachers, had alleged that the police pinned the crime on Satyam Babu to misdirect the investigation as a relative of a powerful politician was involved in the crime.
The Mahila Court in Vijayawada, on September 10, 2010, convicted and sentenced Satyam Babu to life imprisonment.
In 2017, the Hyderabad High Court acquitted Satyam Babu. 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 the evidence in the case was destroyed in the Mahila Court in 2014 even though the appeal against the conviction of Satyam 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 CBI charged T Kumari, Y Subba Reddy and P Venkata Kumar, all employees of Mahila Court, Vijayawada. According to the investigation agency, the accused disposed off and destroyed Material Objects under a criminal conspiracy.
The High Court in its November 29 order observed that destruction of Material Objects was shocking to the judicial conscience. While noting that certain DNA test results were also used as part of evidence by the trial court, it voiced the suspicion of attempts having been made in the trial court to destroy evidence.