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Sister Abhaya Murder Case : SC Dismisses Discharge Pleas Of Accused Priest, Nun

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
15 July 2019 2:06 PM GMT
Sister Abhaya Murder Case : SC Dismisses Discharge Pleas Of Accused Priest, Nun
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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the special leave petitions filed by Thomas Kottoor and Sephy against a April 9 judgment of the High Court of Kerala which had upheld the trial court's dismissal of their discharge pleas in the Sister Abhaya murder case.As a result of the dismissal by the bench of Justice Abdul Nazeer and Subhash Reddy the petitioners, a priest and a nun in the...

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the special leave petitions filed by Thomas Kottoor and Sephy against a April 9 judgment of the High Court of Kerala which had upheld the trial court's dismissal of their discharge pleas in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

As a result of the dismissal by the bench of Justice Abdul Nazeer and Subhash Reddy the petitioners, a priest and a nun in the Catholic Church, will have to face the trial in the CBI Court, Thiruvananthapuram.

Last year, the trial court had rejected the discharge petitions filed by them. The CBI court had observed that there was sufficient ground for presuming that the two had committed offences punishable under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destroying evidences) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). Justice Sunil Thomas of the High Court agreed with the trial court's observations as regards Kottoor and Sephy, the first and third accused in the case.

The CBI Court however had discharged the second accused in the case Jose Poothrikkayil, also a priest. Discharging Poothrikkayil, the CBI court had held that the prosecution had failed to bring out sufficient material to proceed against him. Challenging the CBI Court decision discharging Poothrikkayil in the case, a plea was filed in the High Court. The court, however, rejected it.

The High Court also discharged fourth accused and a former crime branch SP, K.T. Michael in the case. The court said that he can be made an accused during the trial of the case, if necessary.

Michael, accused of allegedly destroying evidence in the case, was added in the list of accused by the CBI court last year.

Abhaya's body was found in the well of the ST Pius Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. She was an inmate of the convent.

Initially, the case was investigated by the local police and state crime branch which concluded that Abhaya had committed suicide.

However, the case was taken over by CBI on March 29, 1993.

According to the prosecution, Kottoor and Poothrikkayil were allegedly having an illicit relationship with Sephy, also an inmate of the convent.

On the night of March 27, 1992, Abhaya allegedly saw Kottoor and Sephy in a compromising position, following which the three accused hacked her with an axe and threw her into the well, it had said in its charge sheet.

The accused were arrested in 2008 and released on bail by the Kerala High Court a year later.

(With PTI inputs)

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