Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], June 23 (ANI): Kerala High Court on Thursday suspended the sentence of life imprisonment to Sister Sephy and Father Thomas Kottoor in the Sister Abhaya murder case.
Kottoor, along with Sister Sephy, a nun, was convicted on December 23, 2020, by a CBI Court, Thiruvananthapuram for the murder of 19-year-old nun Sister Abhaya. Thereafter, they were sentenced to imprisonment for life.
The 19-year-old Catholic nun's body was found in a well inside St Pius Convent in Kottayam district of Kerala on March 27, 1992, and the case which was first investigated by local police was shifted to the crime branch. Both the probes concluded it as a suicide. An action council was formed including activist Jomon Puthenpurackal who challenged the findings and the case was transferred to the CBI in 1993.
A Division Bench of Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice C Jayachandran accordingly released them on bail with conditions, in view of the petition filed in the Court seeking its suspension.
After CBI took over the case, in 2008, the CBI recorded the arrests of two Catholic priests, Fr Thomas Kottoor and Fr Jose Puthrukkayil, and the nun, Sr Sephy. But for lack of evidence, Puthrukkayil was discharged by the court in 2018.
Statements of Adakka Raju, a thief who had happened to be in the convent on the night to steal, gave a statement that he had seen the accused, proved crucial along with statements and findings of few police officers who probed the case initially. Almost eight witnesses, including crucial witnesses, had turned hostile in the case.
When the incident happened, Abhaya had been a pre-degree student in college run by the Catholic Church and was an inmate of Pious Xth Convent Hostel. (ANI)