Kerala HC pulls up CBI for not complying with procedures

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Kochi, Nov 24 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today expressed displeasure at the CBI for not complying with legal formalities while filing the custody application for the three accused -- two priests and a nun -- in the Sister Abhaya murder case.

Hearing the petition filed by second accused Fr Jose Poothrukkayil, challenging the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ernakulam, remanding him to 14 days' CBI custody, Justice R Basanth observed orally that extracts of the relevant pages of the case diary were not furnished along with the remand application.

The CrPC mandated that the relevant pages of the case diary should be produced along with the custody application, the judge said.

Stating that the investigating agency should have applied its mind before submitting the remand application, Justice Basanth said the CBI must comply with all formalities and the rule of law should prevail.

''One can understand the pressure on the investating officer but that is not a reason to sacrifice the rule of law,'' he added.

The court also directed the CBI to file a statement detailing the reasons for seeking police custody.

The court then adjourned the case for hearing to November 26, alongwith the petitions filed by the co-accused Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sr Sephi, challenging the CJM's order.

The CBI in a statement filed before the High Court this morning stated that the investigation so far revealed that all the three accused were involved in the murder of the 21-year-old nun, whose body was found in a well of the Pius Xth convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992.

Submitting that oral evidence corroborated circumstantial evidence, the CBI said there was sufficient evidence scientifically and orally to connect the accused with the crime.

The statement, filed by investigating officer Nandkumar Nair, also said that all the statutory requirements regarding arrest were complied with and the accused were produced before the CJM's court within the stipulated time.

Meanwhile, the CJM dismissed an application filed by counsel for the principal accused, Fr Thomas Kottoor, seeking permission to meet him.

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