Convicts get bail from Kerala High Court


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New Delhi, First Published Jun 23, 2022, 11:21 AM IST

The Kerala High Court on Thursday granted interim bail to convicts Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy in the Sister Abhaya murder case after allowing the plea moved by them seeking suspension of their sentence.

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Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran passed the order granting them interim bail subject to furnishing Rs 5 lakh each and two solvent sureties. The court also directed the duo to appear on all Saturdays before the investigating officer for six months and should not leave the state without the court’s permission.

Abhaya, a 20-year-old Catholic sister, was found dead in a well in St Pius X Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. The CBI court sentenced the convicts, Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy, to double life imprisonment after 28 years of legal proceedings, on December 23, 2021. The case was investigated by 16 teams over a period of nearly three decades.

Kottoor and Sister Steffi were found guilty under various sections, including murder. However, in the appeal, the accused had questioned the charge of murder on the basis of the statements of only two witnesses. 

Moreover, the petition also questioned the authenticity of the revelation made years later by Raju, also known as Adaikka Raju, a witness in the case. 

The petition also said that the CBI court had committed a fundamental mistake of failing to assess whether Sister Abhaya’s death was a case of homicide or not. The lawyers claimed that there is nothing on record to show that the injuries found on the body of Sister Abhaya were inflicted by either of the accused or together.

Prior to the CBI court verdict, Kottoor had pleaded not guilty. In the end, Kottoor argued that he was a cancer patient and that his sentence should be commuted. Sister Sefi told the court that she was caring for her sick parents and wanted relief. Both lawyers’ arguments were for the commutation of sentences. But the prosecution demanded maximum punishment. 

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Last Updated Jun 23, 2022, 11:21 AM IST



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