Thiruvananthapuram, December 23
A CBI special court here on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to a catholic priest and nun who were found guilty of the murder of Sister Abhaya 28 years ago in Kottayam.
Special CBI Judge K Sanal Kumar awarded double life sentence to Father Thomas Kottoor — for murder and criminal trespass — and imposed a fine of Rs 6.5 lakh. The other accused, Sister Sephy, was sentenced to life and a fine of Rs 5.5 lakh was slapped on her.
The court also sentenced the duo to seven years of imprisonment for tampering with evidence. The sentences, however, shall run concurrently, the court said.
The Knanaya Catholic Church, meanwhile, termed as “unbelievable” the allegations against the convicts. “The allegations are unbelievable, but we accept the court order. The accused have the right to go for an appeal against the order and prove their innocence,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
The Kottayam diocese of the church, however, said it accepted the verdict of the court.
The court had on Tuesday found the two guilty of the murder of Sister Abhaya, who was found dead in a well in St Pius convent in Kottayam in 1992.
Abhaya (21), a second year student of the BCM college, Kottayam, was staying at St Pius convent. Another accused in the case, Fr Jose Poothrikkayil, was discharged earlier following lack of evidence.
According to prosecution, Kottoor and Poothrikkayil were allegedly having an illicit relationship with Sephy, also an inmate of the convent.
On the night of March 27, 1992, Abhaya allegedly saw Kottoor and Sephy in a compromising position, following which the three accused hacked her with an axe and threw her into the well, it had said in its chargesheet. — PTI