Sister Abhaya murder case: Father Thomas Kottoor, Sister Sephy get life term, fined Rs 5 lakh each
On Tuesday, CBI court had pronounced the two guilty of murder and destruction of evidence in the twenty-eight year old murder investigation
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday sentenced Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy to life imprisonment for the 1992 murder of Sister Abhaya at a convent in Kottayam district of Kerala.
The two have additionally been fined Rs 5 lakh each, Bar & Bench has reported.
On Tuesday, CBI Judge K Sanilkumar had pronounced Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy guilty in the twenty-eight year old murder investigation. The two were found guilty of murder and destruction of evidence, among others.
The second accused, Father Jose Poothrukayil was discharged from the case in 2018 for lack of evidence.
The verdict came more than 28 years after Sister Abhaya was found murdered at a convent in Kottayam district of Kerala. Her body was found inside the well of the convent on March 27,1992. The case itself saw many twists and turns before it was eventually tried in court.
In 1993, the state police had filed a closure report saying it was a case of suicide. The matter was then handed over to CBI after an activist, Jomon Puthenpurackal took it to court.
The CBI in 1996 filed a report stating it could not conclude whether it was a homicide or suicide. The court, however, rejected the same and ordered re-investigation.
A year later, CBI concluded that the case was indeed a homicide but there was no evidence to try the case.
This was again rejected by the court and a third round of CBI probe began. Ten years later, the first arrests are made in the case when Father Thomas Kottoor, Father Jose Poothrukayil, and Sister Sephy were arrested and charged for murder in 2008.
They were later granted bail by the Kerala High Court in 2009. Poothrukayil was later discharged.
Pursuant to a High Court order this year, the trial resumed and verdict was pronounced. A Single Bench of Justice VG Arun noted the long delays in the completion of trial and directed that the matter be heard on a day-to-day basis lest the wheels of justice come to a grinding halt