Hyderabad: In a major development in the case of the rape and murder of B Pharmacy student Ayesha Meera in Vijayawada, the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday entrusted the investigation of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The court has directed the CBI to investigate the case again by registering a fresh First Information Report (FIR) and start investigation against.

A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice S.V. Bhatt heard the petition by Syed Iqbal Basha and Shamshad Begum, parents of Ayesha Meera, seeking a re-investigation of the murder case of their daughter and granted the order.

Taking a serious view of the destruction of case records and evidence which was seized by the police from the scene of the crime, the bench said, “Disappearance of evidence from the trial court needs to be inquired; destroying the evidence is a culpable act which is punishable under law.”

The court also directed the CBI to issue another FIR with regard to the alleged destruction of key evidence material in the trial court and also find out who were the persons responsible for destroying the evidence during the pendency of the appeal before the High Court. The bench was also critical of the supposed role of subordinate court officials in the destruction of records when the matter was sub judice which they said was adding to the suspicion about their role in the case.

The bench concluded that a probe by an independent agency alone can bring out the accused in the murder case and in the destruction of the records, and bring the case to a logical conclusion.

It may be recollected that Ayesha Meera , a pharmacy student was found dead in her hostel on December 27 2007. It was alleged that the police had led the case on the wrong path and arrested a person Satyam Babu in a cell phone theft case and declared that he was the accused. Her parents had repeatedly stated that he was not involved in the case and alleged that the police were acting under pressure from the higher ups as a relative of former Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Koneru Ranga Rao, was involved in the crime, though there was no substantial evidence to prove the same.

Satyam Babu was convicted in 2010 and seven years later the High Court acquitted him and ordered an enquiry against the police officials who investigated the case. After a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed the team informed the court in 2018 October, that the records were destroyed in 2014 in the Trial court, prompting the Bench to transfer the case to the CBI and also order for an inquiry into the destruction of the records and submit a report.

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