CBI arrests two priests, one nun in Sister Abhaya murder case

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Kochi, Nov 19 (UNI) In the first arrests in the Sister Abhaya murder case, the CBI arrested two Catholic priests, Fr Thomas Kottoor and Fr Jose Poothrikkayil, and a nun, Sister Seffy, and produced them before a court here today.

While the two priests were arrested from Kottayam yesterday, the nun was arrested this morning, CBI officials said.

The CBI had last year conducted narco-analysis tests on the trio and had reportedly found evidence of their involvement in the murder of Sister Abhaya.

The three were later produced before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate court for remand.

The body of 21-year-old Sister Abhaya, an inmate of the Pious Xth Convent in Kottayam, was found in the well of the convent on March 27, 1992.

While the police had initially described the case as a suicide, later investigations by the CBI and forensic reports had indicated that she was raped and murdered.

According to reports, the arrests had been made following a vital statement given yesterday by Sanju P Mathew, whose house was close to the Convent.

The arrests are the first in the 16-year-old investigation into the case conducted at different stages by the Kerala police, state crime branch and several teams of the CBI.

Allegedly hushed up earlier due to political pressure, the CBI probe is now being monitored by the Kerala High Court, following a public interest petition filed by the Sister Abhaya Joint Action Council.

Former CBI Dy SP Varghese P Thomas, who was the first to conclude that it was a murder case, had alleged that pressure had come on him from the then Prime Minister's Office to close the case in 1994.

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