Vijayawada, September 30: After many twists and turns, the sensational Ayesha Meera rape-cum-murder case finally culminated in a lifer for main accused Pidatala Satyam Babu (24) here on Wednesday sparking off protests from various quarters.
Satyam Babu of Anasagaram village in Krishna district was held guilty on two counts of murder and rape. He was handed life imprisonment for murdering Ayesha Meera, an under-graduate, under Section 302 of the IPC and asked to pay Rs 1,000 or undergo six more months in jail if he fails to pay up.
The court sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000/six more months in jail under Section 376 of the IPC for raping the girl. Both the sentences will run concurrently.
Satyam Babu pleaded with the Mahila Sessions Court Judge P Sree Sudha to hang him if he was found guilty but prayed her to consider the plight of his mother and sister before delivering the verdict.
His mother and sister are dependent upon him for their livelihood.
Additional Public Prosecutor G Uma, however, would have none of it and argued strongly in favour of capital punishment for the accused. She cited Supreme Court judgments to buttress her arguments.
Senior advocate Karnati Rammohana Rao, Bojja Tarakam, P Srinivas, ASS Ramprasad, B Sambasiva Rao, VNV Rajyalakshmi, Pilla Ravi and K Sudhakar Raju defended the accused in the 2 1/2 years old case. The defence lawyers sought time to prepare their final arguments prompting the judge to adjourn the proceedings till noon. The 103-page judgment was delivered after the court reassembled.
Tension gripped the court premises soon after with several Dalit organisations locking the main gate in protest against the “injustice” meted out to Satyam Babu.
“The government has punished an innocent young man to shield the real culprits,” the protestors alleged.
Dalit Sthree Sakthi state convener and High Court advocate G Jhansi said a Dalit had been victimised and punished for a crime committed by influential people.
She wondered why the government was so desperate to help the real murderer.
The protestors raised slogans and said people would lose confidence in the judiciary if an innocent man like Satyam Babu was punished. They blamed the police for wrongly implicating him in the case.