- Special CBI Court delivers verdict in Sister Abhaya murder case
- The court has convicted 2 people
- Justice comes 28 years after the crime took place
On Tuesday, a special CBI Court in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala delivered its verdict in a 28 year old case in which a nun was murdered as it held a priest and another nun guilty of the murder.
Sister Abhaya who was 21 when she was murdered and her body was dumped in a well of the convent in Kottayam back in 1992.
Among those who were convicted bu the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court is Father Thomas Kottoor who was a Vicar and taught Psychology to Sister Abhaya at the BCM College in Kottayam. He was also the Secretary to the ten Bishop and later rose to the position of the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese in Kottayam.
The second convict in the Sister Abhaya murder case is Sister Sephy who stayed in the same hostel as Sister Abhaya and was de factor in charge of the hostel.
The severity of the punishment will be delivered on Wednesday.
Booth Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy have been found guilty of Sister Abhaya’s murder and also the destruction of evidence.
Father Thomas has also been convicted of house-trespassing.
Activist Jomon Puthenpurackal who is the lone surviving member of the action council which was formed to pursue justice in the murder case, said: “Sister Abhaya’s case has finally got justice. She will rest in peace.”
Puthenpurackal added, “This is a classic example of how no one should think that just because they have power – money and muscle power – they can de-rail justice.”
According to the CBI, the 21 year old Sister Abhaya was a witness to the intimate contacts between Kottoor, another Fater Jose Poothrikkayil and Sister Sephy on the 27th March 1992 as she went to the kitchen from her hostel room at around 4:15 AM.
Between 4:15 AM and 5 AM, the accused allegedly hit Sister Abhaya with a blunt object and then threw her body into the well to cover-up their crime.
In 2018, Father Poothrikkayil, one of the initially accused, was acquitted by a special CBI court. However, discharge petitions of the other two – Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy – were rejected by the court.
Initially, the whole incident was labelled as “death by suicide” by the Kerala Police and the Crime Branch officials, however, amidst the protests and petitions, the case was transferred to the CBI.
The initial 3 final reports from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were rejected by the court which had asked for a more thorough investigation in the Sister Abhaya murder case.
The court pointed to various discrepancies, including the fact that dogs did not bark that night, the fact that the kitchen door was latched from outside and that residents of the convent did not hear the sound of Sister Abhaya “falling” into the well.
Human rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal is the lone surviving member of the panel that fought for justice for Sister Abhaya.