Court upholds arresta of priests, nun in Abhaya murder case


Kochi : The Kerala High Court Friday upheld as “correct” the arrests of the two priests and a nun in the Sister Abhaya murder case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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Justice R. Basanth made this observation while hearing the plea of the three accused that the CBI had illegally arrested them.

Earlier this week, counsel for the three accused had filed a petition, following which the CBI was asked to produce all the evidence that they had to effect the arrests.

Abhaya, a resident of Pious X Hostel, was found dead in the well of the Kottayam convent March 27, 1992.

On Nov 19 this year, the 13th team of the CBI set up to probe the case – after 12 earlier teams failed – arrested Father Jose Putarika, 56, a former Malayalam professor at a Kottayam college where Abhaya studied; Father Thomas Kottor, 61, the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam; and Sister Seffi, who was a resident of the convent when the incident took place.

The judge, after going through the evidence filed by the CBI, said that if the convent authorities had cooperated with the previous investigation teams the murder of Abhaya could have been solved much earlier.

The judge said the decision of the chief judicial magistrate in sending the three accused to CBI custody till Dec 2 was correct and was based on the evidence and also on scientific examination of the accused.

The judge, however, agreed to the demand of the accused that they be permitted to speak to their counsel for half an hour Saturday.

Meanwhile reacting to the observation of the judge, counsel for the accused informed the media that they will now approach the Supreme Court.