Abhaya case explained: From suicide to a murder verdict, a 28-year journey

Abhaya case explained: From suicide to a murder verdict, a 28-year journey

A special CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram Tues found Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy guilty within the case relating the murder of Catholic nun Abhaya. Kottoor, 69, and Sephy, 55, were charged below Section 302 (murder) and Section 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian code (IPC). The quantum of penalty goes to be delivered on weekday.
The verdict came twenty-eight years once the body of the nun was found in an exceedingly o.k. of her convent hostel in Kottayam. throughout the course of the hearing, the HC had allowed the discharge petition of Father Puthrikkayl, the third suspect at intervals the case.
The victim and suspect belong to the Knanaya church, headquartered in Kottayam. At the time of her death, Abhaya had been a pre-degree student at school locomote the church. She had been associate degree inmate of Pious Xth Convent Hostel, that had 123 inmates, still as twenty nuns, in 1992 once the incident happened.
During the trial, eight of the 49 prosecution witnesses turned hostile. However, the court relied upon circumstantial evidence and so the statement of a offender named Adakka Raja. Raja had happened to look at the monks at the hostel, where he had sneaked into at intervals the first hours of March twenty-seven, 1992, the day of the incident.
Prosecution case: The crux of the CBI case is that Sephy had a hole-and-corner affair with a pair of monks, every teaching in an exceedingly} very faculty in Kottayam. On the day of the incident, Abhaya had been getting ready for associate degree examination. Her colleague Sister Shirly woke her up at four am that morning. She then visited the area to want cold water from the electrical white goods to wash her face to remain her awake. once Abhaya entered the area, she allegedly saw the two monks, Kottoor and Puthrikkayl, and so the nun in an exceedingly} very compromising position. Fearing she would disclose the incident, the first suspect, Kottoor allegedly strangulated her whereas the third suspect, Sephy, allegedly beat her with associate degree axe. Together, they drop her body in an exceedingly o.k. among the compound.
Three investigations, conflicting stands: The native police had probed the case on the day Abhaya was found dead. A case of unnatural death was registered supported a release given by Sister Leissue, abbess of the Convent. On solar calendar month 13, the crime branch wing of state police took over the probe, and, on January thirty, 1993, submitted a final report language that Abhaya had committed suicide.
CBI moved: The CBI took up the investigation a year once the incident, on March twenty-nine, 1993. The probe was two-handed over to the central agency supported a criticism given by Sister Banicassia, prioress, and over 65 completely different nuns, to then chief minister K Karunakaran. Alleging Abhaya was dead, they said the case wasn’t being investigated properly and appealed to the CM to entrust the investigation to the CBI.
The CBI registered associate degree FIR language it could not conclude whether or not or not it had been a case of suicide or golf stroke to death, within the main thanks to the medical proof. It was, however, reportable that “assuming it to be a case of golf stroke to death, all possible efforts were created to check the identity of culprits, if any, could ar involved throughout this tragic incident. However, our prolonged efforts, as indicated at intervals the preceding paras, didn’t yield any fruitful results.”
However, the chief judicial justice court didn’t accept this report filed by SP CBI A K Ohri.
The agency continued its probe, currently below its Deputy SP Surinder Paul. He filed a second final report stating that the reason for death was place to death. Despite the foremost effective efforts created throughout the investigation, the identity of the culprits could not be established, and asking was created to simply settle for the report and treat the crime “as closed being untraced”. The conclusion of “homicide” was reached within the main supported the medical opinion given by three doctors, as against the opinion given by Dr C Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, administrative unit conducted associate degree autopsy on the body of Abhaya. This report was put together not accepted by the court.
As the court rejected the second final report, the CBI continued the probe below another officer, R R Sahay. In another final report on August twenty-five, 2005, the CBI specific that “further investigation conducted, at the dictation of the court, has not indicated the involvement of anyone at intervals the death of Sister Abhaya” and asking was created that the “case be treated as closed as untraced”. The court didn’t accept the probe and so the investigation continued .
On Gregorian calendar month four, 2008, the supreme court two-handed over the investigation to the CBI’s Kerala unit in Kochi. By then, the CBI had approached the judiciary to shut the case fourfold for the necessity of proof.
The arrest of the accused: In early Nov 2008, the HC handed over the case to the state unit of CBI, and gave a three-month quantity to complete the probe. The new team, crystal rectifier by Dy SP Nandakumaran Nair, had recorded the statement of Sanju P Mathew, WHO had been residing next to the convent once Abhaya died. Sanju, in his statement as per Section 164 of CrPC, same he had seen Kottoor at intervals the convent hostel field on the night of March twenty-six, 1992, day after day before Abhaya was found dead. supported this statement, the CBI on Nov nineteen, 2008, arrested Kottoor, Puthrikkayl, and Sephy.
Chargesheet: On July seventeen, 2009, the CBI submitted its rap sheet against the arrested persons. The special court began the trial last year.
Sister Abhaya, at the time of her death, was a pre-degree student at school surpass the Christian church.
Narco analysis, turning purpose in probe: On July 6, 2007, the court ordered the CBI to subject the suspects to narco-analysis tests. On August 3, 2007, the agency conducted the tests in Bengaluru. however, the CBI could not proceed as no exhausting proof was left to substantiate the results of the take a glance at.
In August 2008, the CBI acquainted the HC that no new facts had emerged from the narco-analysis take a glance at conducted on the two clergymen and nun, however, it would not leave any stone unturned to unravel the mystery encompassing Abhaya’s death and convey the culprits to book. despite the actual fact that the CBI was convinced that Abhaya had been dead, it fully was unable to trace the assailants. a replica of the initial narco-analysis CD was given to the court.
Narco CDs found tampered with: A team of technical consultants at intervals the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), Thiruvananthapuram had found that master tapes of the narco-analysis tests, conducted on the three persons before their arrest, had been tampered with. The 32-minute, 50-second CD of the narco-analysis performed on Kottoor was altered in thirty places. The CD of Puthrukkaayil (40-minute, 55-second) was altered in nineteen places, whereas the 18-minute, 42-second CD of Sister Sephy was altered at twenty-three places. C-DIT was asked to appear into the narco CDs at the bidding of CMJ court in Kochi, that has been observance the probe.
Narco-analysis not used as evidence: In December last year, the HC dominated that results of narco-analysis and brain mapping technique done on the suspect cannot be used as proof. The court management that the results of such scientific tests, withal distributed with the consent of the suspect, ar typically used only for the wants of proving discovery of reality in accordance with Section twenty-seven of the Indian proof Act.
Hence, the judicature didn’t examine doctors N Krishnaveni and Pravin Parvathappa, of CFSL, Bengaluru, WHO had conducted the narco-analysis tests. The court noted that the petitioners were but to be suspect at the time of the tests.
Circumstantial proof relied upon by CBI: the foremost important proof relied upon by the CBI had been the disturbance at intervals the area. The bottle had fallen down getting ready to the electrical white goods with dripping water, the veil was found to a lower place the gate, that was found barred from the skin — the latches at intervals were unfastened — degree axe and a basket had fallen down, a pair of slippers of Abhaya were found at altogether completely different places at intervals the area, and altogether, the globe exhibited degree look of obtaining had a tussle at intervals. But, there was no blood on the scene.


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