Former HC judge slams Abhaya case verdict

Kottayam: It was after 28 long years that the verdict in the sensational Sister Abhaya case came last month. Until then the long-drawn-out probe and litigation epitomised all that was flawed with the Indian judicial system. Three weeks after a priest and a nun were convicted by a CBI Special Court for their role in the murder, a former judge of the Kerala High Court has slammed the verdict.

Retired Justice Abraham Mathew, also a former director of the Judicial Academy, alleged that it was a fabricated case with forged evidence and flawed verdict. He further said that the judgment does not say anything about the charge-sheet.

"The charge-sheet does not say where the incident happened. The CBI prosecutor has not read the charge-sheet. The prosecution did not check if Sister Abhaya's death was recorded as murder. The judgment does not have evidence of murder,” he alleged.

Mathew voiced his strange opinion during a discussion held with those working in the field of law at Palarivattom in Kochi. His article on this was also published.

“As per the charge-sheet, Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy trespassed into the convent and injured Abhaya. However, the charge-sheet does not state she was murdered.

“Weapons such as a hand axe were used to hit her on the head and the body was dumped into the well to make it appear as a case of suicide, according to the CBI findings. Main witness 'Adakka' Raju said that he had seen two priests lighting a torch from the top of the five-storey hostel, while standing beneath a tree in the next plot. These statements of the main witness are not believable,” the former HC judge said.

“Contrary to the allegations in the charge-sheet, after holding a trial, the accused were punished as per the trial evidence. The doctor had said that the injuries found on Sr Abhaya’s body were not of serious nature. The judgement noted a seventh wound, nail mark injuries on the neck, which is not mentioned in the post-mortem. The CBI, which took note of this statement by a photographer, rejected the doctor's statement," Mathew continued.

He also cited forensic expert Dr Krishnan Balendran's Facebook post exposing the flaws in the judgement.

“Based on a dummy test, conducted by Dr Kanthaswami, it was said that the death was caused due to bleeding and drowning,” he said.

Mathew further said that it was wrong to accept the statements of a person, who had not even seen the dead body.

Sister Abhaya was found dead in the well of the St Pius Convent, Kottayam, on March 27, 1992. Last month the CBI Special Court had convicted the two accused for murder and awarded them life imprisonment and penalty.  

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