The Hyderabad High Court on 31 March acquitted P Satyam Babu, a man who has spent eight years in jail, for the rape and murder of a young girl in Vijayawada in December 2007.
The body of the 17-year-old victim was discovered outside the toilet of the hostel she was a staying in.
Babu was convicted despite the mother of the victim having told the court that they did not think him to be the perpetrator.
Satyam Babu was convicted by the Vijayawada women’s special sessions court in 2010, and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Eight years after he was lodged in jail, he will walk out of Rajahmundry prison on 1 April.
However, for Satyamma, Satyam Babu's sister, the acquittal gives her no vindication.
Family members of the victim and Satyam Babu had held at the time that he was not guilty, and that he was falsely framed in the case. In spite of the victim's family alleging that a politician's family was involved in the murder, the young man was arrested and made to pay the price for the crime.
Speaking to The News Minute, Satyamma said,
What should I make of this judgement? I am happy that my elder brother got justice, but what’s the use of getting it so late?
Satyam Babu suffers from GB Syndrome. The affliction has affected his nervous system and has left him paralysed in both legs.
The last decade has been rough for Satyam Babu's family, as his father died in 2008, and an ailing mother now waits for her son to return home.
Satyamma We don’t even have any relatives. It was just me and my mother. Now, my brother has to come back and start his life all over again, all because he was jailed for a crime he didn’t commit.
Satyam Babu was arrested in a cell phone robbery case on 17 August 2008, and the police had claimed that he had confessed to her murder during interrogation.
However, several activists had alleged that the police arrested Satyam Babu only so they could let the grandson of former deputy CM Koneru Ranga Rao off the hook.
Satyamma blames the police for her brother's health condition. She says,
My brother was fine before they took him into custody. He used to go out and do coolie work. Our family had no history of the disease or of any sort of criminal activities. My parents led decent lives. It was only after he was taken by the police, that he started struggling to even walk.
To make things worse, Satyamma says that her house burned down a year ago, leaving them only with the clothes that they were wearing. "We will move on with our lives, but who will give us justice for all these years we lost?" she asks.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)