In the 28 year old Sister Abhaya murder case, the court in Kerala pronounced a guilty verdict on Monday. A Special CBI Court in Thiruvananthapuram found Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy, a priest and nun of the Catholic Church respectively, guilty of murder in the case. The details of the reasoning and the findings of the court will be known after the full copy of the judgment is released. Special CBI Judge K Sanal Kumar, who handed down the guilty verdict, will hear the convicts on the sentence tomorrow.
Nine prosecution witnesses in the case had turned hostile during the trial which started in August 2019. According to the CBI allegation, the accused murdered Sister Abhaya after she happened to witness their intimate exchanges. Another accused in the case, Father Jose Poothrikkayil, was discharged by the CBI Court last year. Discharging Poothrikkayil, the CBI court held that the prosecution had failed to bring out sufficient material to proceed against him. Challenging the CBI Court decision discharging Poothrikkayil in the case, a plea was filed in the High Court. The court, however, rejected it.
Sister Abhaya’s, a 19-year-old Catholic nun, body was found in the well of the St Pius Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. Initially, the case was investigated by the local police and state crime branch, which concluded that Abhaya had committed suicide. However, the case was taken over by CBI on March 29, 1993, following a legal battle by Joseph Puthenpurackal.