Thursday, July 26, 2012

Enough evidence in Abhaya case

Enough evidence in Abhaya case: CBI
Response to pleas of three accused
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday told its special court here that it had found substantial scientific and circumstantial evidence to try the suspects in the Sister Abhaya murder case.
The CBI special prosecutor told the court that though there were no eyewitnesses of the incident, which took place on March 27, 1992, the agency had found enough evidence to try the suspects, Fr. Jose Poothrukayil, Fr. Thomas M. Kottoor and Sister Stephi. The CBI submission was in response to separate petitions filed by the three accused for discharge of the criminal charges slapped on them by the CBI.
‘Hit with axe’
The agency’s finding was that Stephi had hit Abhaya three times on the head with the blunt side of an axe when the 19-year-old entered the convent’s kitchen to drink water and found the accused in ‘objectionable circumstances’. The CBI’s case was that the accused threw Abhaya into the convent’s well to make her death appear as a case of suicide or an accident. The agency also concluded that the inquest report filed by the State police was ‘false and forged’. The CBI said forensic analysis had proved that Abhaya’s was a classic case of homicidal drowning.
The CBI, in the past years, had filed three reports in the case, the first one stating that Abhaya had committed suicide. In its second report, the agency had stated that it could not establish beyond doubt whether Abhaya had committed suicide or was murdered. Finally in 2008, the agency had submitted the final report in the case stating that the nun was murdered. It had also identified and arrested her alleged killers.
CBI special judge T.S.P. Moosad will hear the case again next month. On Monday, the court also admitted a petition demanding that a CBI official, who had first investigated the case, be investigated on the charge of destroying evidence to help the accused.
A CBI official, Varghese P. Thomas, who had initially investigated the case, had resigned from the agency alleging high-level interference to save the accused. In 2008, retired Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police, V.V. Augustine, who had conducted the inquest on Abhaya’s body, was found dead in suspicious circumstances after the CBI concluded that his report was false and fabricated. The State police subsequently concluded that Augustine had committed suicide.
Says inquest report filed by State police is false
Case to be heard again next month

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