18 Jan 2021 2:19 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court will consider for admission tomorrow the appeal filed by Father Thomas Kottoor against his sentence and conviction for the murder of Sister Abhaya in 1992.The criminal appeal is listed before a division bench comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and M R Anitha tomorrow.Kottoor, who was sentenced to life by the Special CBI Court, Thiruvnanathapuram on December 23, has...
The Kerala High Court will consider for admission tomorrow the appeal filed by Father Thomas Kottoor against his sentence and conviction for the murder of Sister Abhaya in 1992.
The criminal appeal is listed before a division bench comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and M R Anitha tomorrow.
Kottoor, who was sentenced to life by the Special CBI Court, Thiruvnanathapuram on December 23, has also moved an application seeking suspension of sentence.
He argues in the appeal that the trial court's judgment is based on the "unconnected story circumstances culled out from unreliable solitary witnesses". It is contended that the trial court has not truly quoted the evidence in the judgment.
"The trial and conviction of the accused by the court below in all respects are vitiated by grave illegalities and irregularities", the appeal says.
The CBI Court had sentenced Kottoor and Sister Sephy for the murder of Sister Abhaya at St Pious Tenth Convent Hostel, Kottayam in 1992.
The CBI Court found them guilty of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced them to life imprisonment.The culprits were also imposed a fine of Rupees 5 lakh each under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. Kottoor was also imposed an additional sentence of life and a fine of Rupees one lakh under Section 449 IPC(house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death).
The convicts were also awarded 7 years imprisonment and a fine of Rupees 50,000 each for the offence under Section 201 IPC(destruction of evidence). The sentences of imprisonment given to the convicts will run concurrently.
Sister Abhaya Case : 17 Circumstances Which Led CBI Court To Convict Father Thomas Kottoor & Sister Sephy
Sister Abhaya, a 20 year old novice, was found dead inside the well of St.Pious Xth Convent at Kottayam on March 27, 1992.
Father Kottoor, the first accused in the case, was a lecturer of Psychology at BCM College, Kottayam, where Sister Abhaya was a student. The second accused in the case, Father Jose Poothrikkayil, a lecturer of Malayalam in the same college, was discharged by the Court in 2019 citing lack of evidence against him. Sister Sephy was an inmate of St.Pious X Convent.
The local police and the crime branch of the Kerala Police initially closed the case as a suicide. After a lot of public outcry, the case was handed over to the CBI.
The CBI also could not make any headway in the case until 2008. Before that, different teams of the CBI had filed three closure reports in the case - in 1996, 1999 and 2005. However, the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Ernakulam refused to accept these closure reports and asked the agency to conduct further investigation.
On November 1, 2008, the High Court of Kerala directed the Kochi Unit of the CBI to take over the investigation. Soon after that, by November 19, 2008, the CBI arrested Father Thomas Kottoor, Sister Sephy and Father Jose Poothrikkayil.
In July 2009, the CBI filed a chargesheet arraying Father Thomas Kottoor, Sister Sephy and Father Jose Poothrukkayil as accused for offences of murder and destruction of evidence. As per the report, Sister Abhaya had accidentally intruded upon Sr. Sephy and the other two accused priests in a "compromising position". It was further alleged that Sr Sephy panicked and, on the spur of the moment, Sephy hit Abhaya with an axe meant for chopping firewood. After that, the accuseddumped Abhaya's body into the well.
The accused were subjected to narco-analysis and brain mapping tests at the Forensic Science Laboratory, Bangalore.