Thiruvananthapuram: The CBI court here, taking cognizance of the evidence submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), ordered that Sister Sephy and Fr Thomas Kottoor face trial in the sister Abhaya murder case. The CBI had charged the two with murder, destruction of evidence and other offences.
The order came on a discharge plea filed by them and Fr Jose Poothrukayil on the ground that they had undergone a 'considerably long' term of incarceration during investigation.
The court accepted Fr Poothrukayil's contention and set him free; he need not face further trial.
The court observed that the CBI was not able to produce solid proof against Fr Jose Poothrukayil. Hence, the court, giving the benefit of doubt, acquitted the accused from the charges pressed by the investigation agency.
The trial in the case comes after 26 years of the murder in contention.
Sister Abhaya was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a well on the premises of Pius X Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. The CBI arrested Fr Jose Puthurukkayil, Fr Thomas M Kottur and Sister Sephy on November 18 in 2008, based on the circumstantial evidence and results from narco analysis tests.
They were later released on bail.
The CBI took six months to file the chargesheet against the trio. Meanwhile, the accused moved the court against the agency alleging that they were being framed by the CBI.