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Kerala HC Granted Bail to Father Kottoor & Sister Sephy in Sister Abhaya Murder Case

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Paridhi Arya

Published on June 23, 2022 at 15:49 IST

The Division Bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran has granted interim bail to Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy in famous Sister Abhaya murder case.

The Court stated “On a prima facie look at the evidence as pointed out by the defense, and not effectively countered by the prosecution, we cannot but release the two accused, as an interim measure, suspending their sentence till the disposal of the appeal”,

The Court asked both the accused to furnish personal bond of Rs 5 lakhs each with two solvent sureties of same amount. There are many conditions along with this is attached to their interim bail such as they should not commit any crime, they will not go outside the jurisdiction of High Court without permission and they will have mark their presence in the police station on every Saturday for the first six months and then on every second Saturday of the month.

The Court also made it clear that according to Section 389(4) of CrPC if in future their (appellants) conviction is upheld or modified the period in which they are on bail will not be counted.

The body of 20 year old nun Sister Abhaya was found inside the well of Pius Convent in March 27, 1992. The Police had submitted the report that she did suicide. Jomon Puthenpurackal, a social activist, went Court and the case was given to CBI for investigation.

In 1996, CBI submitted the report in the Court. The report had conclusion that it is not clear that whether it was homicide or murder. This report was rejected by the Court and ordered CBI to do investigation again from start.

In 1997, the CBI submitted that it was a murder in their report but stated that there is no evidence on which case can be tried. The Court gave the order to probe third time to CBI.

In 2008, CBI had arrested Father Thomas Kottoor and Father Joose Poothrukayil along with Sister Sephy in the charge of murder. In 2009 two accused got bail and Father Poothrukayil was released from the charge.

The Kerala High Court then asked the CBI Court to conduct the hearing of the case on day to day basis so that more delay can be avoided in the case. In 2020, CBI Court convicted Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy of murder of Sister Abhaya after 28 years of the murder.

The CBI Court stated “The evidence on record is more than sufficient to hold that the unbroken catena of circumstances is so complete that it cumulatively points towards the guilt of the accused, leading to the conclusion which is inconsistent with the innocence of the accused.

The Court gave them life imprisonment with fine of Rs 5 lakh each and additional 1 lakh fine was imposed on Father Kottoor for the house trespass.

In 2021, appeal was filed by Father Kaottor in Kerala High Court.

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