Sister Abhaya's body was found in a well at a Kerala convent in March 1992.
More than 28 years after a 19-year-old nun was found dead in a convent well, a court in southern India's Kerala state has convicted a Catholic priest and a nun of murdering her.The special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a federal agency, convicted Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy on Dec. 22 but said the quantum of punishment would be announced on Dec. 23.The court found them primarily guilty of murdering Sister Abhaya, destroying evidence and conspiracy, among other charges.
Soon after the sentencing, police took the defendants into custody. They were taken to a hospital for a health check-up and Covid-19 test and will be remanded in jail, said police.They will be brought back to the court to hear the punishment only if they are Covid-19 negative, a police official told media.
Puthenpurackal consistently accused the Church of using money and political influence to hush up the case because of priests' involvement.The CBI had named another priest, Jose Poothrakayal, as an accused but he was discharged earlier.The deceased, according to the prosecution, reportedly saw the guilty in a compromising position. In a panic, Sister Sephy hit Abhaya with an axe meant for chopping firewood. The three accused then dumped the body into the well, it was claimed.However, the court's exact finding will be available after it pronounces its verdict on Dec. 23.Church leaders have not yet reacted to the court verdict.