Trial finally begins in 27-year-old Abhaya murder case


Thiruvananthapuram, July 11 The trial in the 27-year-old Sister Abhaya murder case finally began at the CBI special court here on Thursday.

Facing trial in this notorious case are Catholic priest Thomas M. Kottur, the first accused and a nun, Seffi, who is the third accused.

Since Seffi was not present in the court when it commenced business on Thursday, the case was postponed to August 5 with the court pointing out that there should be no more delays.

The second accused in the case, another Catholic priest Jose Poothrikkayil, however, was discharged by this court last year.

Abhaya, an inmate of the Pius X convent in Kottayam, was found dead in the well within their compound on March 27, 1992.

The case has dragged on this far with, initially, both the Crime Branch and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) dismissing it as a suicide, but public activist Joemon Puthenpurackal formed an Acton Council and pursued the case.

The turnaround came after Puthenpurackal managed to get the case reopened another time, following which the 13th batch of CBI officials arrested the three accused, including Poothrikkayil on November 19, 2008.

Poothrikkayil was formerly a Malayalam professor at the Kottayam college where Abhaya studied, while Kottor was the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam, and Seffi a resident of the convent where the incident took place.

The three accused secured bail on January 1, 2009.

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