Indian Catholic News

Court acquits one of two priests accused in Abhaya case

Sister Abhaya, a plus-two student, was found dead in a well on the premises of the Pius X Convent in Kottayam in 1992.

 
(File photo)
Thiruvananthapuram: 

A CBI court here has acquitted one of the priests accused in the murder of Sister Abhaya while ordering a nun and another priest to face trial in the 26-year-old case.

Father Jose Poothrukayil was acquitted while the court refused to discharge the case against co-accused Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sefi.

Sister Abhaya, a plus-two student, was found dead in a well on the premises of the Pius X Convent in Kottayam in 1992. The nun’s death was initially described as a case of suicide by crime branch, but the CBI later concluded that it was a murder.

On November 19, 2008, the CBI arrested the three accused, including Fr Poothrukkayil — a former Malayalam professor at a Kottayam college where Abhaya studied; Fr Kottor, the chancellor of the Knanaya Catholic Diocese of Kottayam and Fr Seffi, a resident of the convent where the incident took place.

On January 1, 2009, the three accused got bail. All the three accused had moved the court with discharge petitions.
Hearing their pleas, the court ruled that there was no evidence against Father Jose and removed him from the accused list, but the other two will have to face the trial.

The CBI had charged all three with murder, destruction of evidences and other offences.

“It is god’s grace that my innocence is proved after 26 years,” said Father Poothrukkayil after the verdict.

On March 28, the court will read out the chargesheet in the case to the accused and the trial is expected to start soon.

Source: Hindustan Times, The Week

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