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Sister Abhaya murder case: priest, nun to face trial

8:43 AM, July 17, 2019

India(Delhi):The CBI Court, however, had discharged the second accused in the case- Father Jose Poothrikkayil.

Supreme Court has dismissed a special leave petition from Father Thomas Thomas M. Kottoor and Sister Sephy accused in the 27-year-old murder case of a Catholic nun in Kerala.

The Catholic priest and nun moved Supreme Court against the April 9 decision of the state court, which upheld the trial court’s refusal to discharge them from the murder case.

The Supreme Court judgment came on July 15.

Last year the CBI trial court dismissed the discharge petition that pleaded to remove them from the list of accused.

The implication of the Supreme Court judgment is that FatherKottoor, the first accused and Sister Sephy, the third accused will have to face the trial in the court, scheduled to be resumed in August.

The CBI court had discharged the second accused in the case, Father Jose Poothrikkayil, on the ground that the prosecution could not present enough evidence to proceed against him.

The High Court also discharged fourth accused and a former crime branch official K.T. Michael saying he can be made an accused during the trial of the case, if necessary.

Michael added in the list of accused, allegedly for destroying evidence in the case. Michael was the key official to close the state crime branch probe, concluding that sister Abhaya had committed suicide.

Abhaya's body was found in the well of her St. Pius Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992.

After the state police concluded it as case of suicide, it was taken over by CBI on March 29, 1993. The federal probe agency in 2008 arrested the two priests and the nun on the charge of murder.

According to the prosecution, the priests were allegedly having an illicit relationship with Sister Sephy, also an inmate of the convent.

On the night of March 27, 1992, Sister Abhaya allegedly saw Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy in a compromising position.

The three accused teamed and hacked the younger nun with an axe and threw her into the well, the CBI had said in its charge sheet.

The accused were arrested in 2008 and released on bail by the Kerala High Court a year later.

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