Sister Abhaya murder case; court pronounces life sentence to Father, nun

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A special CBI court has sentenced a Priest and nun to life imprisonment in Kerala’s famous Sister Abhaya murder case in Kottayam in 1992.

Sanal Kumar of CBI Special Court Judge in Thiruvananthapuram ordered Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sefi to pay a fine of Rs five lakh each, both of whom were held guilty in the case, under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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The murder case is the longest running case in the history of criminal cases in Kerala.

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The court said that murder charges have been proved against Padari and Nun. The court convicted both of them under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (tampering with evidence) of the Indian Penal Code. The convict is out on bail and was taken into custody after conducting an investigation into covid-19. Father Thomas Kottoor and Nun has been sent to the Central Jail in Poojapura while Sister Sefi has been sent to Attakulangara Women’s Prison here. 

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Abhaya was a second-year student at BCM College in Kottayam and lived in the convent. Father Jose Puthrikkayil, the other accused in the case, has been acquitted for lack of evidence. Initially, the case was investigated by the local police and the state’s crime branch and both said that Abhaya committed suicide. 

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The CBI took over the investigation of the case on March 29, 1993 and filed three closure reports and said that it was a case of murder but the culprits could not be traced. However, on September 4, 2008, the Kerala High Court reprimanded the CBI over the case, stating that the agency was “still a prisoner of political and bureaucratic power” and had directed the Delhi unit of the CBI to investigate Hand over the Kochi unit. 

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Subsequently, the CBI arrested Father Kottoor, on the night of March 27, 1992, Abhaya allegedly saw Kottoor and Sefi in an objectionable position after which the accused attacked Abhaya with an axe and threw her into the well.

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Her brothers are happy with the court’s decision. The trial in the case began on August 26 last year and many witnesses turned hostile.

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