Hyderabad: The twists and turns in the investigation into the gruesome rape and murder case of Ayesha Meera in 2007 in Vijayawada highlights the danger involved in heeding the demand for delivering instant justice echoed in the veterinary doctor Disha’s rape and murder.
In the Meera case, at least one innocent person would have got killed. The lucky man to escape the ‘encounter’ death was rowdysheeter Gurvinder Singh, alias Laddu.
Ironically, the case also stands testimony to the inordinate delay in delivering justice as 12 years later, the question remains as to who killed Ayesha Meera as the then Hyderabad High Court acquitted Satyam Babu who was convicted for life imprisonment by the lower court.
Worse, the bungling in the police investigation and destruction of crucial records resulted in a situation wherein it became extremely difficult for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to find the real culprit.
A few months after Ayesha’s murder in a girls’ hostel in Vijayawada, the local police arrested Laddu and made him the accused. He was sent to judicial remand and his bail petition was rejected by the lower court several times. The police also subjected the accused to several tests including a polygraph.
Subsequently, the bail petition landed in the High Court. “We asked police several times if they were sure Laddu committed the crime and every time the answer was a firm Yes,” said an advocate involved in the case.
The prosecution put up a strong case against a bail application which eventually got rejected. “Within days of bail rejection, the Vijayawada police showed another person, Satyam Babu, as the accused,” he said.
The police and legal experts involved in the case wonder what fate Laddu Singh would have met if the police succumbed to the public pressure of delivering instant justice. “We should not miss in the overwhelming public support to the Friday’s encounter that majority demanded for quick justice not a police encounter,” the advocate pointed out.
Unwilling to be quoted, he said delay in justice delivery lent support to such acts that his own family members would not spare him talking against the encounter. On the other hand, police bungling and a botched up investigation left family members of Ayesha’s kin suffering till date as the real culprits were at large. “Right from the beginning, we have been complaining that the real culprits are the kin of former minister, K. Ranga Rao. But the police never investigated the case properly for obvious reasons,” said Shamshad Begum, mother of Ayesha.
After Laddu’s fiasco, the police arrested Satyam Babu about nine months after the rape and murder. They claimed to have collected scientific evidence including semen and DNA samples. In 2010, the Women’s Court sentenced Satyam Babu to life imprisonment and another 10 years on charges of rape.
But, eight years later, a division bench comprising Justice C. V. Nagarjuna Reddy and Justice M. S. K. Jaiswal of Hyderabad High Court acquitted Satyam Babu and the judgment speaks volumes about the callous approach of the police.
The judgment rapped the police for failing to establish that the rape even took place leave alone proving that Satyam Babu had committed it.” They brought out the theory of rape to save the real culprits,” the court said. The Bench made it clear that police responsible for the investigation goof up should be punished.