Hyderabad: In a dramatic escapade, the prime accused in the 2007 rape and murder of a teenager in Vijayawada gave police the slip while he was being transported back from a hospital here, police said on Saturday.
P Satyam Babu escaped from police custody at Suryapet in Nalgonda district shortly after midnight Friday when the policemen escorting him got down at a hotel for food. Police were taking the 22-year-old to Vijayawada after treatment at a hospital here.
Vijayawada Police Commissioner PSR Anjaneyulu suspended 11 policemen escorting the accused for negligence.
"I received the information at 6.30 am that the accused has escaped. I immediately ordered suspension of the policemen for their negligence," he said.
A sub-inspector, two head constables and eight constables were escorting Babu back to Vijayawada.
However, there were hardly any takers for the police version. Relatives of the accused and human rights activists alleged that the police were trying to eliminate him in a staged shootout to shield the real culprits in the case.
They pointed out that Babu can`t even walk as he is suffering from a neurological disorder.
Police claim that Babu raped and murdered 19-year-old pharmacy student Ayesha Miran at a hostel in Vijayawada on the night of December 27, 2007.
Ayesha`s murder had raised a huge public outcry and the police had failed to crack the case for several months.
Her body with stab injuries was found in the bathroom. A letter dropped by the `murderer` stated that the girl was raped and murdered for refusing his request for `love`.
Babu was arrested in August 2008. Police had earlier arrested two people but released them after the State Human Rights Commission intervened on petitions filed by their relatives.
Interestingly, Ayesha`s parents had also rejected the police claim that Babu murdered her and alleged that police were trying to save some politically influential people involved in the case.
Earlier this month, Babu`s mother, P Mariyamma, had tried to launch a hunger strike in Hyderabad, alleging that police was implicating him in a false case and torturing him. It was on her petition that the high court had last month ordered the police to make arrangements for his treatment in Hyderabad.