Rape and Murder of Nun- CBI probe derailed again!

published on July 9, 2008

CBI transfers probe team chief in Abhaya case

Pioneer News Service | Kochi

Within a week after the High Court’s observation that the conduct of the CBI in the sensational Abhaya murder case seemed to have been influenced by external interferences, the head of the CBI team probing the case was transferred just when the investigation was in its final stages.

RN Krishna, SP of the premier investigation body, was on Wednesday replaced by RS Puniya. Krishna would now go to the Lucknow offices of the agency from where Puniya was being transferred to Kochi to take over the Abhaya case investigation. Those concerned with the case suspected that this was a move to sabotage the probe, which had achieved huge breakthroughs recently, but the CBI said the transfers were as per requests from the officials.

It is reported that DySP Aggarwal, who had been assisting Krishna in the investigations, was planning to go on leave, which would effectively mean that the speed of the investigation would be seriously affected.

The High Court had on July 1 criticised the CBI for the delay in effectively concluding the probe in the case. It observed that the investigating agency’s conduct and probes were in a way that justified the allegation that there were external interferences.

The key official heading the probe team was being transferred just when the investigations were at a turning point. The team had already started preparing its final report to be presented in the court as it had directed, and the officials themselves were sure that they had reached a crucial juncture.

The probe team had gathered clinching leads after conducting narco-analysis on two Christian priests and a nun – Thomas Kottoor, Jose Puthukka and Sr Steffi.

For the first time since the murder in 1992, the probe team had convincingly identified the method used for killing Abhaya. The team had also got clear information about the culprits, but a new suspicion had arisen now that the probe would be derailed again.

The probe team itself had submitted an interim report in the court on July 1 saying that the investigations were in the final stages. The court directed the CBI to conclude the investigations at the earliest.

The court is taking up the case on June 14, the day when Puniya, SP in the Crime Cell of the CBI in Lucknow, would take charge of the probe in Kochi.

The probe into the Abhaya murder case had seen several discomforting transfers and official interruptions in its 16-year history.

The contents of the report presented to the court by the probe team on July 1 in a sealed cover revolved around the several leads including the information emanating from the results of the narco-analysis of the two priests and the nun. The probe team had on June 4 told the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court that it needed 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. The heavy implement used for smashing Abhaya’s skull was yet to be recovered.


Reports had said 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.

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