In Dock for Destroying Abhaya Proof, Ex-investigator Found Dead

By Shaju Philip
Indian Express

November 26, 2008

Thiruvananthapuram : Giving a new twist to the sensational Abhaya murder case, a retired police sub-inspector who was tipped to be named an accused was found dead on the premises of his house at Changanassery in Kottayam on Tuesday.

V V Augustine, 64, who slashed his wrist, left behind a note that held the CBI responsible for his death. Augustine, who was the first investigating officer (IO) in the case and who had prepared the first information report about the nun's death, was in the dock for destroying evidence in the case.

The CBI has, meanwhile, released a press statement stating that “V V Augustine was not a suspect in the case" and that “his death was likely to hamper the investigations in the case”.

The Abhaya murder case was handed over to a new CBI team, which examined Augustine in Kottayam on three days — November 22, 23 and 24 — and sought his assistance in the investigation. On all the three days, he was accompanies by his son, Sebastian, who is also a police constable in the Kerala Police.

Augustine was the assistant sub-inspector at Kottayam West police station in 1992 when Abhaya was found dead in her convent well.

CBI sources said they had not tortured anyone as part of questioning. The probe would go in the right direction though Augustine’s death would make the job tough, they added.

Augustine was also part of the state police team, which claimed that the nun's death was a suicide. Several CBI teams had questioned Augustine and at a time there had been a reported attempt to make the retired cop an approver in the case.

It was the contradictions in Augustine's depositions that helped the CBI reach the conclusion that Abhaya was murdered. The agency had believed that he could give valuable input regarding the forces which

put pressure on the state police to write off the case as a suicide.

Along with the two priests and the nun, the CBI had also taken Augustine to Bangalore for a narco-analysis test . When he was subjected to a mandatory medical check-up prior to the test, three blocks were detected in his heart.

To expedite the probe, a bypass surgery was immediately performed in Bangalore. Even then, the CBI did not get his consent for a narco test.


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