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4 absconding accused in teen rape case directed to appear before police

4 absconding accused in teen rape case directed to appear before police

Kochi: The High Court Tuesday directed four absconding accused, including a Catholic priest and two nuns, to surrender before the police officer investigating the rape of a minor girl allegedly by a vicar of a church in Kottiyoor in Kannur district.

Fr Robin alias Mathew Vadakkancheril, who was vicar of the local church at Kottiyoor and the prime accused in the case, was arrested on February 28.

Considering an anticipatory bail plea filed by the absconding accused, Justice B Sudheendra Kumar directed them to surrender before the Investigating Officer in five days. They had been booked for their alleged role in hiding facts related to the case relating to the rape and subsequent delivery of the baby by the 11th standard student on February 7.

The court directed the Investigating Officer to produce the accused before the Special Court dealing with the case after interrogation on the same day of their surrender.

The High Court also ordered the Special Court to grant conditional bail to the accused, namely Fr Thomas Joseph Therakam, sisters Ophelia and Betty Jose and Thankamma, the maid servant attached to the local church, considering their age as well as the fact that most of the offences charged against them are bailable.

Father Therakam was chairman of the Wyanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC). He was later removed from the post. The High Court pointed out that the accused had no criminal antecedents. The court, after examining case diary, observed that prima facie there are no allegations to constitute some of the offences made out against the accused.

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