Staff Reporter

Conduct detailed investigation, says court

Kochi: Terming the further investigation conducted into the case relating to the death of Sister Abhaya "superficial," Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate P.D. Sarangadharan on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a detailed investigation.

The magistrate rejected the final report filed by the CBI. He said it was disturbing to note that further investigation was "superficial" and that the CBI had not gone deeply into the case. The further investigation was ordered by the Magistrate when the case came up last time.

The body of Abhaya, a 21-year-old inmate of the Pious X convent hostel, was found in March 1992 in a well on the convent premises.

The CBI, which took over the investigation, had concluded in November 1996 that the death was a homicide but "the case remained untraced." The Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate did not accept the final report of the CBI and directed it to conduct a fresh investigation. The CBI, after conducting further investigation, concluded that the probe did not indicate the involvement of any person in the death of Sister Abhaya. In its additional report, the CBI pleaded that the case be treated "as closed as untraced."

In its order, the magistrate on Monday said there was clear evidence to show that some officers who took part in the investigation conducted by the local police and Crime Branch wanted to refer it as a case of suicide.

The CBI had only questioned the investigation officers for further verification of the documents collected by the local police and the Crime Branch. The CBI had not conducted the investigation independently. The action of the CBI could not be considered as further investigation.

The CBI should not have relied on the versions given by the State police.