Court says there is evidence of their involvement in Abhaya murder case

Kochi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday submitted before Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate P.D. Soman that the two priests and a nun arrested in connection with the Sister Abhaya murder case had admitted to the crime when confronted with the results of scientific tests.

The CBI made the submission when a bail petition filed by the second accused, Fr. Jose Puthrukkayil, came up before the magistrate. The petition was later dismissed. In his order, the magistrate said bail could not be granted to the accused at this stage.

The court, which perused case diaries including scientific evidence, observed that there was sufficient evidence to show the involvement of the accused in the crime.

The CBI submitted that the three accused were “deceptive and dubious” in their answers and were not prepared to divulge all facts known to them. They were making systematic attempts to put hurdles and impediments to the investigation.

The CBI pointed out that the first accused, Fr. Thomas Kottur, is the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Kottayam and Fr. Jose Puthrikkayil is Principal of St. Pius X College, Rajapuram, Kasaragode. The third accused, Sister Sephy, is a member of St. Joseph’s Generalate, S.H. Mount, Kottayam. All the three were highly influential and had directly exerted “undue influence on the witnesses through the handouts circulated on their behalf at Kottayam and elsewhere.” As a result, witnesses at the scene of crime, inmates of the hostel and others were refusing to divulge facts known to them.

The CBI pointed out that while the accused were in the custody, V.V. Augustine, former assistant sub-inspector of police who was the first investigation officer of the case, was found dead in mysterious circumstances.

The CBI asserted that there was sufficient evidence to show the involvement of the second accused in the case and also the complicity of the other accused in the case. It had come to light that the accused, being highly influential, even used modern techniques in medical science to tamper with vital evidence in the case. This was evident from a medical report issued by the Head of the Department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Alappuzha Medical College, after conducting virginity test on the third accused with her written consent. “The report says that the virginity of this accused could not be ascertained as there is surgical interference observed on hymen.”

The CBI submitted that the accused were capable of mobilising the mass against law enforcement and signs of such activities were visible from the activities of religious institutions connected with the accused.