Thiruvananthapuram, December 22: A special CBI court in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram Tuesday delivered its verdict in a 28-year-old murder case as it held a Catholic priest and a nun guilty. Sister Abhaya, 21, was murdered and her body was dumped inside the well of a convent in Kottayam in 1992.
Among those convicted is Father Thomas Kottoor, who was a Vicar and taught Sister Abhaya psychology at Kottayam’s BCM College, NDTV reported. He was also Secretary to the then Bishop. He later rose to be Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese in Kottayam.
Another convict, Sister Sephy, stayed in the same hostel as Sister Abhaya and was de facto in-charge of the hostel. The quantum of punishment will be delivered tomorrow.
Both of them have been found guilty of murder and destruction of the evidence. Father Thomas Kottoor has also been convicted of house-trespassing.
Human rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal, the lone surviving member of the panel that fought to pursue justice in the murder case, said: “Sister Abhaya’s case has finally got justice. She will rest in peace. This is a classic example of how no one should think that just because they have power – money and muscle power – they can de-rail justice.”
As per the CBI, Sister Abhaya was witness to intimate contacts between Kottoor, another Father, Jose Poothrikkayil, and Sephy on March 27, 1992 as she went from her hostel room to the kitchen at around 4.15 AM.
Between 4:15 AM and 5 AM, the accused allegedly hit Sister Abhaya with a blunt object and threw her body in to the well to cover-up the crime.