A month after a trial court in Bhubaneswar absolved the two accused in the 2011-12 case of rape and murder of a 19-year-old from Pipili, the State crime branch police here on Thursday approached the Orissa High Court challenging their acquittal.Criminal appeal plea High Court sources confirmed filing of the criminal appeal plea but said the matter has not been listed for adjudication yet. The crime branch moved the High Court after consultations with the State Director of Public Prosecutions and the State Advocate General. However, a special public prosecutor appointed by the crime branch police will conduct the case on its behalf. Crime branch Additional DG Santosh K. Upadhyay had earlier indicated the government’s decision to challenge the acquittal verdict, stating that the case was investigated properly. “The prosecution had argued the case, touching every possible angle, clearly establishing the involvement of the accused persons in the case,” the ADG had said.One of the accused, who reportedly had a relationship with the victim, and his younger brother were arrested in connection with the case. The teenager was allegedly raped and an attempt was made to kill her by strangulation on November 28, 2011.Allegations that local BJD MLA and then Minister Pradeep Maharathy was sheltering the accused had led to massive public outcry. Following this, the State government handed over the case to the crime branch police and Mr. Maharathy was asked to put in his papers. The rape victim, who was rescued, had slipped in a coma while undergoing treatment at S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital here and died on June 21, 2012, after battling for life for nearly seven months.Soon after the lower court verdict, Mr. Maharathy, a Minister, made distasteful observations regarding the victim and her family. After a massive public backlash, he was forced to tender his resignation from the Cabinet for the second time.