CBI Wants New Judge to Hear Bail Plea in Nun Murder Case

By John Mary
The Peninsular

December 17, 2008

Thiruvananthapuram: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has requested the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court to prevent Justice K Hema from hearing bail petitions filed by the accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

The CBI, while seeking the transfer of bail application files to another bench, felt it would not get justice in the investigation into the alleged murder of Sister Abhaya, an inmate of St Pius X Convent in Kottayam, on March 27, 1992.

Certain actions on the part of Justice Hema might affect the pace of investigation, the CBI submitted.

While hearing the bail pleas, the Justice had called for sufficient evidence from the CBI against the accused-Fr Thomas M Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukayil and Sister Sephy- observing that it would be difficult to keep the accused in detention in the absence of convincing proof of their roles in the alleged murder.

The CBI had countered this by saying that a detailed analysis of evidence was not required during the consideration of bail applications. Further disclosure of evidence would adversely affect the investigation, it argued.

But the CBI submitted details of further evidence before Justice Hema. She is yet to pronounce her verdict since the arguments remained inconclusive.

Meanwhile, the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Kochi, who had remanded the accused in judicial custody, today extended their custody by another 14 days to December 29. Nuns belonging to the Kottayam diocese gathered near the court, pledging solidarity with the accused as they were brought before the magistrate.

The CBI has also taken exception to alleged moves by the Church to communalize the case by whipping up passions and browbeating those willing to cooperate with the investigation. They submitted leaflets circulated by the Church agencies regarding alleged denial of justice to the accused, especially the clinical examination of Sister Sephy.

In another development, the victim>s father, Thomas Areekara, had moved the High Court against letting the accused go on bail, arguing that they would leave the country. He said Fr Thomas Kottoor had left the country soon after he was questioned by the CBI in the initial stages of the probe by the previous CBI team.


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