Two Christian Priests Among Three Held for Rector’s Murder;No secular hue and cry.

published on March 22, 2014
A year after Rector K J Thomas (62) was bludgeoned to death at a seminary in Yeshwantpur, city police claimed on Friday that they have nabbed the killers.

The assault took place at St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary on March 31 last year. Police have arrested Illyas (44), priest at a church in Gulbarga, William Patrick (45), priest at a church in Kengeri, and Peter (22), who works in a church in Bangalore.

They have also seized a motorbike and two mobiles allegedly used during the crime, and are on the look-out for another accomplice.

Director and Inspector General of Police Lalrokhuma Pachuau told reporters that rivalry over seminary administration was the motive for the murder.

He said the case had been a challenge as initially no clues were found. Thomas had been working in the seminary for years and Illyas and others were upset over his attitude towards them.

The accused felt they were being sidelined when it came to appointments for important posts. They wanted to bring about change in the seminary. “For this, they wanted certain documents relating to the grant of land to the seminary. They hatched a plan to break into the seminary and steal these documents,” Pachuau said.

The priests decided to break into the seminary on the night of March 31. It was Easter and they knew most others at the seminary would be on leave.

City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said, “On the fateful night, these three met near Yeshwantpur Circle and walked up to the seminary armed with rods and other weapons.”

They allegedly broke open the locks of the seminary and started looking for the documents. While they were at it, Fr Thomas came out of his room. When he questioned them, they fatally assaulted him.

Forensic experts collected fingerprints from the crime scene and matched them against a database of prints of known offenders from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Puducherry. Police questioned more than 2,000 people.

There were 18 at the seminary that night. Police conducted a narco test on three – a procurator and two cooks. This, however, didn’t help and the police then put more suspects to test.

Meanwhile, many Christian associations, besides a representative from the Vatican, urged the state government to nab the killers. A public interest petition was filed in the High Court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

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