HC raps CBI for delay Abhaya probe

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on July 1, 2008

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday criticised the CBI for the delay in concluding the probe in the sensational Sr Abhaya murder case. The court observed that the investigating agency’s conduct and probes were in a way that justified the allegation that there were external interferences in the inquiry.

The high court made these observations when the CBI lawyer submitted an interim report on the progress of the probe as desired by the court. The report was presented in a sealed cover to Justice V Ramkumar following instructions that there should be no complaints about leakage of the details of the investigation. The court directed the CBI to conclude the investigations at the earliest.

Reports said that the contents of the report, which had not been made public, were on the lines of the report the agency had submitted in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam on June 4. The interim report was filed by the CBI in the high court on a petition filed by Sr Abhaya’s father, Thomas Arrekkara.

The report presented to the high court on Tuesday said that the probe was in its final stages and that clear leads had been collected about the culprits. The report, which revolved around the several leads including the information emanating from the results of the narco-analysis of two priests and a nun, said the CBI was in the process of collecting more evidences. The case was posted to a later date.

The CBI’s probe team had on June 4 told the Ernakulam CJM court that it would need four more months to complete the investigations. The agency had said that it needed to collect more evidences to establish its case as narco-analysis result could not be taken as final proof. Also, the heavy implement used for smashing Abhaya’s head was yet to be recovered.

Media reports had said that the results of narco-analysis on two priests and two nuns had suggested that the killer group was spotted by the nun and it was following this that the group killed her by striking on her head with a heavy object. However, the CBI rejected such reports saying the culprits were yet to be found.

The special CBI team had on January 21 submitted the results of the narco-analysis on three persons at the Kerala High Court as well as the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam in sealed envelopes. The results were of the narco-analyses on priests Thomas Kottoor and Jose Puthukka and nun Sr Steffi. The analyses were conducted at the Bangalore facility of the premier investigating agency.

Sister Abhaya was found murdered in the well of the St Pius X Convent, where she was a nun, on March 27, 1992, in the wee hours of the day. There were no convincing explanations from any quarter on the mysterious death of the nun. The earlier impression, based on the statements by the other nuns at the convent, was that she could have committed suicide due to some mental disorder.

Abhaya, daughter of M Thomas, Areekara, Kottayam, was a second-year pre-degree student at BCM College, Kottayam when she was murdered. The college belonged to the diocese of Kottayam and she was a resident of the St Pius X Convent.

Abhaya was said to be of good habits and normal behaviour, and was said to have been maintaining healthy and cordial friendship as per hostel rules and with all the inmates and absolutely had no mental disorder or any psychological aberration.

Initially, the local police investigated the case and wrote it off as one of suicide, based on the postmortem report. It was believed that they were forced to destroy key evidences such as the nun’s clothes and other personal belongings during the investigation due to external influences.

During the initial inquiry, the postmortem, chemical examination and laboratory report also had been erased and then rewritten due to external influences. Reports also indicated that some laboratory officials had not been willing to cooperate with the police during the initial inquiry.

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