Nun’s Murder – Shameless inside stories of Priests and Nuns exposed

published on December 2, 2008



Killers struck Abhaya in the head, says CBI

VR Jayaraj | Kochi

For
the first time in the 16-year-long probe into the murder of Sr Abhaya,
the CBI on Tuesday revealed that the nun was killed by striking her in
the head with a blunt object at St Pius X Convent of the Knanaya
Catholic Church in Kottayam on the night of March 26-27, 1992.

The
CBI told the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam that the three
accused Church personalities had murdered the nun by striking her in
the head with a blunt object at a narrow room adjacent to the kitchen
of the convent. After committing the murder, the trio had thrown Sr
Abhaya’s body in the well of the convent, the agency said.

The
court was told that Sr Abhaya, who had gone in the night to take some
water from the refrigerator kept at the kitchen, had seen Fr Thomas M
Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukayil and Sr Seffi, an inmate of the convent
(first, second and third accused respectively), together in suspicious
circumstances in a narrow room where nobody could live. The CBI said
that the trio murdered her out of fear that she could divulge the
matter.

When the accused, who were produced before the court
on Tuesday, complained that the CBI did not treat them decently,
agency’s counsel Anil Kumar told the court that they, who had killed an
innocent nun in cold blood, did not deserve any better treatment.
The
CJM Court remanded the accused in judicial custody till December 16 as
their remand in CBI custody ended on Tuesday.

The CBI told the
court that it had got all evidences to prove that the accused had
committed the murder in the said manner. The counsel also said that the
accused had revealed their roles in the murder clearly in their
narco-analyses held at the Central Forensic Laboratory at Bangalore. To
a complaint from the accused that the CBI had tortured them, the court
said questioning in custody could not be seen as persecution.

When
Sr Seffi complained that the CBI had subjected her to virginity test
without her consent,
the agency explained to the court that the test
was inevitable considering the peculiar situation of the probe into the
case. Anil Kumar told the court that it could examine the veracity of
the CBI claim.

All claims by the accused that the CBI had
persecuted them in custody failed as the agency explained how it had
treated them. First accused Fr Kottoor complained he was made to sleep
on the floor but said he was given food and medicines at the right
times. The priest prayed to the court not to leave him in the custody
of the CBI again.

Fr Jose Puthruka, second accused, said he was
not allowed to sleep for three nights following the arrest on November
19. Even after that, the agency officials disturbed his sleep with
questions. However, he said that a CBI official himself had taken away
his dirty clothes for washing.

Sr Seffi, apart from her
complaint about the virginity test, said she was persecuted mentally by
the CBI. Hearing all the complaints, the Chief Judicial Magistrate told
them interrogation in custody could not be seen as torture.

However,
the CBI explained that the accused were never treated indecently. The
three church personalities were given air-conditioned rooms to sleep in
and they were taken to places in air-conditioned vehicles.
The accused
had been given all necessary medical assistance and decent food at the
right times The counsel also said that all of them had been given the
convenience to pray.

The CBI counsel told the court that the
accused persons, who had killed an innocent girl, who was also a nun,
in cold blood, could not be given more decent treatment than this.
A
bail petition of Fr Jose Puthrukayil was scheduled to come up in the
court on Wednesday.

CBI had learned from witnesses that visit by
men from outside during night-time was a regular affair at the convent.
At least one eye-witness had told the CBI that the two priests and Sr
Seffi were in the narrow room, where a person could not live, when Sr
Abhaya saw them.

Sanju P Mathew, a witness who lived in the
house next to the convent, had told the agency that he had seen Fr
Kottoor’s two-wheeler in front of the convent on the night of the
incident. He had also said that several of his own friends were regular
visitors at the convent.

The body of Sister Abhaya, daughter of
M Thomas, Areekara, Kottayam, was found 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. Initially, the local police investigated the case and wrote it off
as one of suicide based on the post-mortem report. The Crime Branch,
which probed the case later, also said it was a suicide. The first CBI
teams to probe the case said Sr Abhaya was murdered but could not find
the culprits.

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