A particular Central Bureau of Investigation court docket in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday discovered the 2 accused in Sister Abhaya’s homicide case responsible and their quantum of punishment will probably be introduced on Wednesday, bringing a dramatic finish to the 28-year-old case.
Each accused Thomas Kotoor and Sister Sefi have been discovered responsible of homicide (Part 302 of the Indian Penal Code), Part 449 (home trespassing to commit against the law) and Part 201 (destroying proof) and different sections of the IPC. Particular decide Ok Sanil Kumar will hear the convicts on Wednesday earlier than studying out their sentences.
Third accused Sister Sefi broke down in court docket after listening to the decision however the primary accused Kotoor later stated he was harmless and he’ll show his innocence within the court docket of God. Second accused within the case Father Jose Poothrukayil was let off by the trial court docket final yr after no proof was discovered towards him.
Whereas many of the witnesses had turned hostile in the course of the trial, the court docket stated a number of prosecution witnesses have been robust and convincing. The CBI took over the probe after materials proof within the case was both destroyed or tampered with by the native police and crime department. However its meticulous and scientific probe earned the central company loads of reward.
Sister Abhaya (19), a plus-two pupil, was discovered lifeless within the properly of the Pious X Convent in Kottayam in March 1992. It was initially dismissed as a suicide by the state police and crime department, however the CBI later concluded that it was homicide. In 2009, the CBI charge-sheeted Catholic priest Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sefi within the case. Nonetheless it took 11 years to achieve its logical conclusion as a consequence of extended authorized battles.
Abhaya’s brother lauded the decision. “God is nice. Justice has been finished to my sister, although it’s delayed,” he stated. Activist Joman Puthanpurakkal who single-handedly took up the case stated his 28 years of labor had turned fruitful lastly. “It’s a slap on the face of church authorities who shamelessly protected the murderers,” he stated. He additionally took the title of a retired Supreme Courtroom decide alleging he tried his greatest to sabotage the case and implicate him in a false case.
Former Deputy SP of the CBI Verghese P Thomas, who first investigated the case and later resigned from the company alleging that he was pressurized by his senior officers to make it a suicide case, additionally expressed his happiness. “I paid a heavy value for embracing fact. I resigned after I had eight-nine years service. Most of my batch-mates have been later promoted as DIG and IG. Right now I really feel my sacrifice was price it,” he stated. Main a retired life, he stated his conclusion that it was a transparent case of homicide had been proved proper.
Authorized specialists have additionally hailed the decision. “It’s a good day for the judiciary. Fact prevailed lastly. Credit score goes to the CBI workforce headed by Nandakumar Nair and activists like Jomon Puthanpurakkal,” stated senior lawyer B Jayashankar.
In response to the CBI charge-sheet, on the day of her loss of life, Abhaya acquired up early to review and went to the kitchen to scrub her face. The charge-sheet surmised that she witnessed some sexual exercise involving the 2 clergymen and nun and was killed as a result of they feared she might disclose what she had witnessed.
She was first attacked with an axe and later dumped within the properly, the CBI claimed. Though the case created a sensation in Kerala, the church stood by the accused, saying the accused have been harmless.
Apparently, the CBI had filed three studies within the case; in first report it stated the loss of life of Abhaya was a case of “homicidal suicide.” However this report was rejected by the court docket, which ordered a recent investigation. Within the second report, the company stated it couldn’t set up past doubt whether or not it was a suicide or homicide. Within the final report it filed in 2008, the company stated it was a case of homicide and arrested the 2 clergymen and nun. Jose Poothrukayil was absolved of all the fees earlier than the ultimate trial.
Many films have been made primarily based on the theme of the sensational case. The poor dad and mom of Abhaya who valiantly fought for justice died in the course of the lengthy years of authorized battle. What makes the case completely different is that there have been a flurry of petitions in numerous courts and lots of makes an attempt to scuttle and delay the probe.
In 2008 retired ASI of Kerala police V Augustine who investigated the case initially dedicated suicide. In 2018, the CBI had made former SP Ok T Michael an accused within the case for destroying key proof within the case. Later the excessive court docket had stayed motion towards the previous SP. Through the path 9 witnesses had turned hostile.
In 2008 the accused Sefi had filed a grievance towards the CBI saying she was pressured to bear a virginity take a look at by the company with out her consent. However the CBI stated she did hymenoplasty (a surgical process to restore damaged hymen) after the case erupted to show she was a virgin. The CBI later submitted hospital particulars to cement its declare. Later the court docket had rejected her plea.
Apart from the character of the case wherein there was no direct witness, the prolonged authorized process made the case completely different. Although the CBI charge-sheeted the three in 2009, the accused moved discharge petitions in numerous courts. These pleas took 9 years to achieve any conclusion because the court docket discharged one in every of them however rejected the petitions of the opposite two.
Apparently one of many most important witnesses within the case was a small-time robber, Raju. He was on the premises of the convent for stealing areca nuts when the incident befell. He reportedly informed CBI officers that he noticed two clergymen and a nun on the convent across the time of Abhaya’s loss of life. He later stated he was promised many issues to come clean with the crime and alter his assertion however he caught to his testimony. “I’m the happiest man at present. I caught to the reality until the final,” he stated after the decision.
The lengthy authorized battle put the church in a spot after it supported the accused. It’s but to react to the decision. A spokesman of the Kanaya Catholic church stated it is going to launch an announcement later within the day.
However reformers within the church need it to vary its place and stand with the sufferer not the accused “It’s happiest day in my life. A poor woman acquired justice after so a few years. I hope it is going to open the eyes of church authorities,” stated Sister Lucy Kalapura who was expelled from the congregation final yr for supporting a stir towards rape accused Bishop Franco Mullakal.