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Life sentence suspended, bail granted to Sister Abhaya murder convicts: Kerala HC

Life sentence suspended, bail granted to Sister Abhaya murder convicts: Kerala HC

KOCHI: Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy who were convicted in the Sister Abhaya murder case had their life imprisonment sentence suspended by the Kerala High Court on Thursday.

Following a petition filed by Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sr Sephy, the division bench that comprised of Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice C Jayachandran issued the order.

The court said they should be released on bail after executing a bond of Rs 5 lakh each and warned them not to be involved in any crime. The court also directed them to appear before the investigating officer on all Saturdays for six months and should not leave the state without prior permission from the court.

On March 27, 1992, sister Abhaya, a Catholic sister, was found dead in a water well in St Pius X Convent in Kottayam.

Sephy's lawyer, Senior Advocate P Vijayabhanu, argued that during the investigation and trial period, his client had been on bail. She has been serving life imprisonment since December 22, 2020. After being arrested in November 2008, she was released on bail on January 1, 2009, and has not abused the freedom granted by the court. There were also no allegations of attempts to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. He added that it would be a serious prejudice and irreparable injury if the sentence is not suspended until her appeal is settled.

Senior counsel B Raman Pillai said that although there was no evidence against Thomas Kottur, the trial court had sentenced him to life imprisonment. The trial court's findings of guilt are not in conformity with, but rather totally against, the charges framed against him and the other accused.

Similarly, the charges against the accused are against the prosecution case and allegations. The CBI court made the fundamental mistake of not paying attention to whether it was a homicide or not. Regarding the wounds found on Abhaya's body, there is no record that any of the accused or her accomplices inflicted on her.

The High Court is still considering an appeal filed by the two convicts seeking to nullify the CBI special court order in Thiruvananthapuram which had sentenced them to life imprisonment.

Source – PTI

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TAGS:Sister Abhaya case Kerala HC 
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