Sister Abhaya hacked to death with axe: CBI

16 Years to solve a Murder case ?
This is how Victims get Speedy Justice in India.

Kochi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the 1992 murder of Sister Abhaya, told a court here on Tuesday that she was hacked to death with an axe by the two priests and a nun arrested in the case.

On November 19, the 13th team of the CBI set up to probe the case – after 12 earlier teams failed – arrested Father Jose Putarika, 56, a former Malayalam professor at a Kottayam college where Abhaya studied; Father Thomas Kottor, 61, the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam; and Sister Seffi, who was a resident of the convent when the incident took place.

Counsel for the CBI Anil Kumar told the chief judicial magistrate court that the three accused hit Abhaya using an axe after she saw something that may have been unbefitting of them.

Federal agents on Wednesday arrested two priests and a nun over the death of a nun in a convent in Kerala 16 years ago.

The arrests by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigating the death of Sister Abhaya took place on Tuesday evening and yesterday morning.

The three arrested are Catholic priests Thomas M. Kottoor, 61, and Jose Puthrukayil, 56, and Reverend Sister Steffi, 45.

Sr Abhaya, a nun at the Pius X Convent in Kottayam was found dead in the convent’s well in March 1992. The state police dismissed it as a case of suicide while investigations later pointed to the the likelihood a murder.

The development comes after different teams of the CBI probed the case following sustained pressure from social activist Jomon Puthenpurackal and Sister Abhaya’s parents.

A key turning point was when a newspaper alleged tampering with the case’s medical reports at a government chemical laboratory. Rev Puthrukayil is a former professor of a college in Kottayam where Sister Abhaya used to study, and Rev Kottoor was the Kottayam diocesan chancellor.

Sister Seffi belonged to the same convent as Abhaya. The three, who were subjected to a truth serum test in Bangalore last year, were remanded in CBI custody till December 2.

The turn of events is attributed to the detention of Sanju Mathew, whose house neighbours the convent last week by the 13th CBI team investigating the case.

Mathew testified that he was a student at the time and was studying on the pervious night of March 27 when the nun’s body was recovered. In the early hours of the day he had gone out to have tea when he found Reverend Kottoor’s two-wheeler outside the convent.

Abhaya’s elderly father Thomas said he was happy that the CBI had finally made the arrests.

Abhaya, a resident of Pious X Hostel, was found dead in the well of the Kottayam convent March 27, 1992.

The three accused were produced before the court after their remand period ended yesterday.

The counsel also informed the court that the investigating agency did not need the custody of the three as the case was almost solved.

“Everything will be over in two weeks time and the final report will be filed by then,” said Kumar.

The three accused, meanwhile, told the court that they had been tormented in custody. The magistrate immediately asked them if they were given food, medicines and if they were physically tortured.

The three said no and the magistrate later sent them to judicial custody until December 16.

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