28 years after crime: CBI court finds priest and nun guilty of Sister Abhaya murder

More than 28 years after Sister Abhaya was found murdered at a convent in Kottayam district of Kerala, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Tuesday convicted Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy in the murder case.

The sentence will be pronounced tomorrow.

Abhaya, a 19-year-old Catholic nun, was murdered and her body dumped inside the well of a convent Kottayam on March 27,1992.

In 1993, the State police filed a closure report saying it was a case of suicide. The matter was then handed over to CBI after an activist, Jomon Puthenpurackal took it to court. However, the CBI in 1996 filed a report stating it could not conclude whether it was a homicide or suicide. The Court, however, rejected the same and ordered re-investigation. A year later, CBI concluded that the case was indeed a homicide but there was no evidence to try the case. This was again rejected by the court and a third round of CBI probe began.

Among those convicted is Father Thomas Kottoor, who was a Vicar and taught Sister Abhaya psychology at Kottayam’s BCM College. He was also Secretary to the then Bishop. He later rose to be Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese in Kottayam. Sister Sephy, another accused stayed in the same hostel as Sister Abhaya and was de facto in-charge of the hostel.