High Court charges CBI with lying in Abhaya case

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on August 26, 2008

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday charged the CBI with lying to the Judiciary about the CDs received from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Bangalore with the recordings of the narco-analysis procedures on two priests and a nun in connection with the Sr Abhaya murder case.

The court said that the Bangalore laboratory had given the CBI three CDs containing the recordings of the procedures but the agency, presenting documental proof, argued that it had received only one CD from Bangalore.

The court observed that the CBI team, which was probing the murder of the nun, had presented to the court a single CD which contained edited versions of the recordings of the narco-analyses of Fr Jose Puthrukayil, Fr Thomas M Kottoor and Sr Steffi, taken from the three CDs the Bangalore laboratory had handed over to the agency. Thus, the CBI team had tried to give the court false information, Justice Ramkumar said.

The court had, through a special order to the director of the laboratory, received three CDs and other documents relating to the narco-analyses, and it was told that the CBI had been given all those earlier. The court said that senior CBI official Lal Mohan Chowdhary had received the three CDS from the Bangalore lab. The court, through its direct investigation, was convinced that the lab authorities had ensured the delivery of all the three CDs to the CBI official.

Justice Ramkumar said that the CBI could have handed over an abridged version of the information on the three CDs in a single CD to the court. He pointed out that CBI’s DYSP RK Aggarwal or its counsel had never told the court directly or through documents that the agency had received three CDs.

CBI official Aggarwal stood by his old position on Tuesday also, saying the agency had received only a single CD from the Central Forensic Science Lab. Also, he submitted a document to the court to prove the point that the agency had got only a single CD.

The document he produced in the court was the covering letter the lab authorities had sent to the CBI along with the CD, he claimed.

The covering letter, prepared by Dr Malini, Assistant Director of the lab who had overseen the narco-analysis procedures on the two priests and the nun, had cited that it was being accompanied by a CD of the recordings and the report of the tests.

With this, the mystery regarding the narco-analysis of the three persons had deepened and suspicion had been generated that there were some forces deliberately playing to mess up the investigation and court procedures. Earlier, there were allegations that former Prime Minister Narashimha Rao’s office had interfered to divert the investigation into the Abhaya case.

Sources in the CBI felt that the manipulation could not have been made in the agency’s realm but it could have been done in the laboratory itself. Justice Ramkumar had entrusted the court Registrar with the task of inquiring the truth about the CD, and the laboratory in Bangalore had told him there were three CDs originally. It was on the basis of this the court alleged that the CBI was lying.

For the past two months, the High Court had on several occasions criticised the CBI for the manner in which its investigations were progressing. The CBI had first told the court that the nun had indeed been murdered but they could not get any clue about the culprits as all the evidences had been lost, a position the agency had taken 12 years ago.

Recently, the CBI counsel told the court that Sr Abhaya had not left the convent on the day of her death, indicating that the murder had taken place inside the convent and possibly by someone inside it. Then the agency said that they had got clear leads about the identity of the culprits but needed further investigations before taking action against them.

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 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 St Pius X Convent.

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