CBI Probe Into Abhaya Case Going Off Track: Kerala High Court

KOCHI, Kerala (SAR NEWS) The Kerala High Court observed that there “there is only a chase for the shadow rather than the object “in the investigation of the Sister Abhaya’s murder case by the CBI.”

Justice K. Hema observed that it appeared that the investigation in the sensational and controversial Abhaya murder case was “going off the track”.

The court further observed: “On a close perusal of the case diary, I (Justice Hema) find that there is only a chase for the shadow, rather the object, in this case. This chase is only a futile exercise. Investigation means to carefully examine the facts of a situation, an event, a criminal act to find out the truth about it or how it happened. It is not to fix the target first, without any evidence and then make a hunt for evidence.”

The court said it had found certain relevant materials on which the investigators must pay attention to. It should be done under the supervision of more experienced superior officers in the CBI.

The court also directed that the CBI investigate the facts revealed in the brain-mapping and fingerprinting report.

It observed that disturbances in the kitchen of the hostel, absence of blood in the kitchen, or the surrounding areas, bolting of the door from inside and outside, fallen veil without blood, nature of injuries in the post mortem examination report which did not correspond to the weapon found at the scene, the definite medical opinion on the possibility of suicide, absence of any homicidal injuries on the deceased, conscious state of Sister Abhaya in the well and death due to drowning and absence of any hue and cry from Sister Abhaya should be probed.

The investigators should find out whether a clearer picture could be obtained by exploring the details in the scientific study.

The court dismissed the contention of the CBI that the Church had influenced the police to hush up the case. The court said even a plain reading of the case diary showed that nuns and priests had made efforts to convince the police that it was a case of homicide and not suicide. The CBI took over the investigation on a complaint filed by the Mother Superior and other nuns seeking a CBI probe into the ‘murder’.

The CBI had not so far investigated and found out the presence of any blood at the scene.

The court also noted that the CBI was unable to explain where the incident exactly occurred – either in the kitchen or in the work area.

The court pointed out that no weapon which could have caused injuries on the body of Sister Abhaya was traced.

As for the narco-analysis test reports, the court observed: “In all probability, those are edited and manipulated at the Forensic Science Laboratory itself by the person or persons doing the analysis. It is, therefore, necessary that the investigator should take all steps necessary to retrieve the unedited original video on the test before proceeding further to act these CDs.”

On attributing motives

On allegations against former sub-inspector of police V. V. Augustine who prepared the inquest report, the court said the CBI should think before attributing motives to officers of other agencies.

The court said the case diary, which was prepared by him, indicated that there was no possibility of Sister Abhaya committing suicide.

As for allegations that the Crime Branch police were instrumental in destroying materials in the case, the Justice said, the CBI had taken over the investigation in March 1993 and if it wanted to protect the materials leading to evidence, it could have taken steps to prevent their destruction.

The crime branch filed its final report in January 1993.

The court said the CBI appeared to be “fishing out” for reasons to cover up its own lapses. “This is quite unfortunate and uncharitable,” Hema added.

Virginity test unnecessary

The court said the virginity test conducted on Sister Sephy was “unnecessary”. “It was unfortunate that the third accused was subjected to such a ridicule, which did not serve any purpose, other than making an attempt to throw mud on a nun in public,” Justice Hema said.

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