Kerala nun rape case: Father Kuriakose’s death remains mystery, family wants re-postmortem

Mystery continues to shroud the death of priest Father Kuriakose, a prime witness in the Kerala nun’s rape case, whose body was found in a room of St. Paul’s Convent School, Dasuya in Punjab on Monday

Photo courtesy:
Photo courtesy:

Bipin Bhardwaj

Mystery continues to shroud the death of priest Father Kuriakose, a prime witness in the Kerala nun’s rape case, whose body was found in a room of St. Paul’s Convent School, Dasuya in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab on Monday.

Jose Kurian, younger brother and certain family members of the deceased priest reached Dasuya on Tuesday morning, visited the police station and the civil hospital. They also got their statements recorded with the police. A postmortem examination was also conducted at the civil hospital body.

Meanwhile, the police have initiated inquest proceedings in the case after a team of medical experts conducted postmortem on the body at Civil Hospital, Dasuya.

Father Kuriakose brother Jose Kurian said that the family will get another postmortem of the body done. “After receiving the postmortem report here, we will airlift the body to Kerela and another postmortem examination will be conducted there, if we are not satisfied with the first postmortem report,” Kurian claimed while talking to the media outside the morgue of Civil Hospital, Dasuya.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), J Elanchezhian said that as of now, no foul play was suspected in this death. “It seems a natural death. If the victim’s family moves any application seeking investigations in the case, the police will act accordingly,” he added.

AP Sharma, DSP, Dasuya, said that the samples of viscera and heart will be sent to forensic laboratory to know the exact cause of the death.

Functioning of the school management had come under the scanner when the authorities noticed the body inside the room and broke the door open on Monday morning. Father Kuriakose had confined himself to his room on Sunday afternoon and no one went to his room till Monday morning, it is learnt.

With the death of Father Kuriakose just days after the release of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, accused in the most infamous Kerala nun rape case, the needle of suspicion is being pointed towards the latter and his supporters.

Moreover, two other priests, Father James Chacko and Father Martin Sadiq of the Church, were out of station on that particular day. Father Michel, who was there claims that he was told by others about Father Kuriakose not responding following which he along with others peeped inside his room and saw him motionless.

The door of Father Kuriakose’s room was broken open and subsequently ambulance was called from the Civil Hospital Dasuya, the insiders recall.

Interestingly, the school management got the damaged door and the broken lock repaired before the police reached the crime scene and took a computer, a laptop and mobile phone besides three bottles of whisky in its possession. There were signs of vomit on the bed sheet.

Locals apprehend that the evidences might have been destroyed before police arrived at the scene.

Madan, a cook who stays in a room adjacent to that of the priest, says that he did not cook food for him on Sunday. He waited for him to come out of his room till 9 am on Monday.  “As Father Kuriakose did not come out I contacted the nuns,” he recalled.

Meanwhile, Father Augustine Vattoli, convener of a Kerala based Save Our Nuns Action Council, had sought immediate cancellation of the rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s bail and his re-arrest.

"Father Kattuthara had been telling us that he was getting threat calls, This is all the more reason to immediately cancel Mulakkal’s bail," he told media persons.

After the news of Father Kattuthara's death reached Kerala, Father Vattoli led a delegation to the Kerala Chief Minister's Office to insist that the government should take action in the matter at the earliest.

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 on a Kerala nun's complaint that the priest from the Jalandhar diocese had raped her many times between 2014 and 2016.

Accused Bishop was released from the jail in Kottayam on October 17, a day after Kerala High Court granted him bail. Thereafter, he also received a rousing welcome from supporters when reached in Jalandhar.

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