A legal expert says the demand for re-investigation of Sister Abhaya murder case could delay the trial process, helping the priests and nun accused in the case.
Kerala’s High Court on Wednesday suspended
trial proceedings in the 20-year old case admitting a petition from
rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal for re-investigation of the case.
“This could prolong the trial for years," Dr Sebastian Paul, a Supreme Court lawyer and media analyst told ucanews.com.
He said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which probed the case, took 16 years to arrest the accused.
new investigation could take longer as vital evidence has been
destroyed.“This petition may indirectly help the accused avoid trial,”
Puthenpurackal's petition said the CBI did not probe several significant aspects of the alleged murder.
CBI did not investigate whether Sister Abhaya was raped before she died
and who was responsible for tampering with the victim's medical reports
at the government forensic laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram, he said.
The activist said he approached the High Court to get justice for the victim and her family.
“It is quite clear the three accused will walk free if the trial proceeds based on the existing evidence,” Puthenpurackal said.
special CBI court processing the case had earlier rejected the
activist's petition but the High Court accepted it and sent notices to
the accused and investigators, seeking their response to the petition.
victim, Sister Abhaya, was found dead in a well at her convent in
Kottayam, in Kerala, on March 27, 1992. She was 19 when she died.
Investigators initially called her death a suicide but requests from the nun's superiors resulted in CBI taking up the case.
federal agency’s investigation led to the arrest of Father Thomas M
Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukkayil and a Sister Sephi in November 2008, 16
years after the alleged murder.
The prosecution says Sister Sephi
killed the young nun with the blunt end of an axe after Sister Abhaya
caught her in a compromising position with the two priests in the
convent’s kitchen. The priests then helped dispose of the body.