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Priests held for Kerala nun death 16 yrs ago


Reghu Raj,CNN-IBN
Sep 14, 2009 at 05:27pm IST

Kochi: Father Jose Puthrukayil and Father Thomas Kottoor were produced before a court in Kochi. These catholic priests have been arrested by the CBI for their involvement in the sensational Sister Abhaya murder case. CBI has also detained a nun, Sister Seffy.

“It is an epoch making day in Sister Abhaya murder case because for last 16 years, the CBI has been lagging behind, the investigating agency has been pressurised and they are not conducting any proper investigation in this case,” says Abhaya's family's lawyer, A X Verghese.

Both the priests had earlier undergone narco analysis and brain mapping tests. Sources say the priests were arrested on the basis of statements given by one Sanju P Mathew who lives near the St Pious convent in Kottayam where Sister Abhaya was found dead in 1992. The priests lawyers say will challenge the arrests in court

“The CBI as well as the crime branch and the local police were interrogated and investigated in this case and at last all of them found that there were at least three of the accused are innocent,” says Defence Counsel, V J Joseph.

Its still not clear what charges the arrested priests are likely to face but for Sister Abhaya's family, its at least the beginning of the end of their campaign for justice.

“After 16 years, the case has developed a little. This is encouraging now, I am happy,” says Sister Abhaya's father, Thomas Aikarakunnel.

Over the past 16 years, the case has been marred by allegations of political interference. The CBI official who initially headed the probe had even resigned alleging pressure from the top.

In 2007, media reports emerged that Sister Abhaya's postmortem reports had been tampered with.

The sensational elements of the case even ensured that it was made into a popular Malayalam movie.

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