Priests demand ‘independent and impartial’ probe by CBI into the case

A day after the city police announced the arrest of three persons, including two priests, in connection with the murder of Father K.J. Thomas, rector of the Pontifical Seminary in Malleswaram last year, priests of the Karnataka Kannada Dharmagurugala Balaga (KKDB) alleged that the arrests are a conspiracy against Kannada priests.

Addressing reporters on Saturday, they alleged that the 11-month-long investigation was concluded in a hasty manner due to pressure from authorities in the State government.

“When there was no clear evidence over the last 11 months, how did they suddenly conclude that the three arrested were responsible for the murder in just 15 days? How were the call records, which were not found for so many months, suddenly traced now?” Father Charasa said.

The priests demanded an “independent and impartial” CBI inquiry into the case terming the investigation as “one-sided”.

“Rector Thomas was a very secular priest who supported the sentiments of Kannadigas. No one was after his position. In fact, Father Elias and William Patrick (both arrested) do not have any connection with the pontifical seminary here as they are posted outside of the city and would not stand to gain any position here,” he said.

They also disputed the claim of the police that the arrested priests were interested in obtaining documents pertaining to the seminary. “A copy of the property documents was handed over to us by the Mysore Mission, which has the ownership over the documents. So why would the priests want to obtain them in such a manner?” a priest said.

However, a police officer said that there were other documents that the arrested persons were trying to obtain.

The police claim that the three persons were arrested as there was sufficient evidence that they assaulted the rector, leading to his death.

‘My son is innocent’

Mariyamma, mother of William Patrick who has been arrested, was at the press conference. With tears in her eyes, she said, “My son has always been an activist for Kannadigas. He has nothing to do with the murder. That is all I would like to say.”