HC directs CBI to entrust Sr Abhaya case with its local unit

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Kochi, Sep 4 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today directed the CBI to hand over the investigation into the Sister Abhaya murder case to its Kochi unit.

Passing the order, Justice V Ramkumar said CBI SP, Kerala, had been entrusted with the conduct of the investigation and to constitute a team of officers of 'unquestionable integrity' and unravel the truth behind the murder.

The court also observed that if any officer faced any political pressure in the course of investigation, that officer could approach the High Court.

The judge also directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam, to monitor the progress of the investigation.

The State Government had been directed to provide the necessary infrastructure for the conduct of the investigation.

The court raised doubts as to why the investigation of a crime, which happened in Kottayam, was given to the CBI Delhi unit as there would be language barriers stalling the investigation.

Taking strong exception, the court observed that ''there was an unseen hand, which was trying to jettison the truth behind Sister Abhaya's murder.'' On the CD issue, the court said investigating officer A K Aggarwal has to face suitable action, but only after the investigation ordered by the court was over.

In a report filed by Mr Aggarwal, the CBI had maintained the stand that it had received only one CD from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Bangalore, against the lab's claim that it had sent three CDs to the investigating agency.

The CD related to the narco-analysis tests conducted on Fr Jose Puthrikae, Fr Thomas Kottur and Sr Sephy last year.

Sister Abhaya's body was found in the well of the Pius Xth convent at Kottayam in 1992.

UNI XR MA PMM GL KN1553

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