PRIESTS, NUN ACCUSED IN NUN'S MURDER CASE GIVEN BAIL (India)
This is the 13th police investigation since the death of Sister Abhaya in a convent in Kerala (south India), 16 years ago. Concerning the latest investigation High Court Justice K. Hema commented recently:
"Investigation means carefully examining the facts of the situation. It is not to fix the target first, without any evidence and then make a hunt for evidence.
There are some similarities between this case and the various hysterical allegations of child murder made against the Christian Brothers in Ireland. In India the people behind the hysteria tend to be extreme Hindu nationalists and religious fundamentalists. However their mentality is very similar to that of Irish secular "liberals"!
2 January 2009
(A) 'Investigation Going Off The Track, Had Derailed': High Court
Kochi, Jan 1 2009 (Press Trust of India )
In an embarrassment to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI}, the Kerala High Court today granted bail to three accused in the Sister Abhaya case after observing that investigation in the 16-year-old case was going 'off the track and had derailed'.
Justice K Hema, after going through the Case Diary and examining the materials placed by CBI, said the "the investigation is going off the track, and had derailed.". Further detention of the three accused-- Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Puthrikayil and Sister Sephi, on the basis of materials placed, would result in gross 'miscarriage of justice', the court held while allowing their bail pleas.
Observing that 'there is only a chase for the shadow, rather the object in this case', she said this case is only a 'futile exercise'.
"Investigation means carefully examining the facts of the situation. It is not to fix the target first, without any evidence and then make a hunt for evidence," she said in her 49-page order.
The court held that the investigators must pay attention to some relevant materials in the case diary. 'Unless it is done, Abhaya's soul will not rest in peace.' The present investigation team shall make an 'in depth' study before they proceed any further on investigation, she said.
The three accused were granted bail on various conditions, including that they will not make or accept any telephone calls and in case they do, their bail would be cancelled.
The accused have been asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs one lakh each with two solvent sureties for the like amount. PTI
(B) Priests, Nun Accused in Abhaya Murder Case Given Bail
January 1st, 2009 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS
Kochi (Kerala), Jan 1 (IANS)
The Kerala High Court Thursday freed on bail two priests and a nun, who are the accused in the sensational Sister Abhaya murder case. The body of Sister Abhaya, a resident of Pius X Hostel, was found in the well of the Kottayam convent March 27, 1992.
The three accused were arrested Nov 19 by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team - the 13th after 12 earlier teams failed to crack the case.
Jose Putarika is a former professor at the Kottayam College where Abhaya studied. Thomas M.Kottor was the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam, and Sister Seffi was a resident of the convent when the incident took place.
The three accused had approached the high court for bail, which was granted by Justice K. Hema, on furnishing a bond of Rs. 100,000 each and also two sureties.
The judge also asked the three not to use telephones while on bail and to hand over their passports to the police. They have also been asked to inform the investigation officer about where they would be staying.
Justice Hema also asked the CBI to appoint a senior official to go ahead with the investigation.
The bail for the three accused comes less then a week after the CBI informed the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court at Ernakulam, where the case is being tried, that it was Seffi who had hit Abhaya thrice with an axe in the room next to the kitchen of the convent.
Later, the unconscious Abhaya was dropped into the well of the convent, the agency said and filed a remand report stating more arrests would be made in the case shortly.
The CBI informed the court Thursday that the Knanaya Catholic Church, to which the three arrested belong, has been trying its best to influence the investigation.
Meanwhile, Abhaya’s father Thomas said he would now approach the Supreme Court against the granting of bail to the three accused.
(C) Knanaya Catholic Church Says Arrested Priests, Nun Innocent
December 9th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS
The Knanaya Catholic Church, which is in the thick of controversy after two of its senior priests and a nun were arrested in connection with the murder of Sister Abhaya, said Tuesday the three are innocent. “Our position has not changed and even though we are very particular that the truth should come out, we are of the opinion that the three arrested are innocent,” Joseph Pandaraserry, the assistant head of the church’s Kottayam diocese said at a prayer meeting Tuesday.
Close to 500 people including priests, nuns and common people took part in the prayer meeting held at a church here.
The body of Sister Abhaya, a resident of Pius X Hostel, was found in the well of the Kottayam convent March 27, 1992.
A team from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) — the 13th after 12 earlier teams failed to crack the case — Nov 19 arrested Father Jose Putarika, 56, a former Malayalam professor at the Kottayam college where Abhaya studied, Father Thomas Kottor, 61, the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam and Sister Seffi, who was a resident of the convent when the incident took place.
Already the CBI has questioned Archbishop Mathew Mulekattu for over two hours last month and retired bishop Kuriakose Kunnasery, who held the office, when the murder took place.
The meeting also came down heavily on the CBI when as part of their investigation they conducted a virginity test at the Government Alappuzha Medical College last month without the consent of Sister Seffi.
“They are free to do their investigation and it should not be based on looking at the face but they should have not violated the rights of people,” said Fr Paul Thelekatt, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar church.
Meanwhile at Kochi, the CBI told the Kerala High Court that they have not violated any rights of those who have been asked to come for questioning.
The clarification came in response to the complaints raised by the convent officials, including 18 nuns, who said that they were being harassed by CBI officials after being summoned for questioning.
The judge posted further hearing on the case for next Monday.