28 years after the mysterious death of Sister Abhaya, the CBI Special Court in Thiruvananthapuram will pronounce the verdict in the case on December 22 as the trial in the concluded on Thursday. In 1992, the nun was found dead in the well of Pious Xth Convent in Kottayam. According to the Central Bureau of Investigation team's findings she was killed by two priests Thomas Kottoor and Jose Puthrukayil and another nun in her convent Sefi.
The motive of murder as cited by the CBI was that Sr Abhaya found the priests and Sefi in a compromising position and that they killed her fearing she would speak out about this. In 1993, the Kerala Crime Branch had closed the case claiming it was a suicide. In the same year that CBI took over the case.
In 2008, the three priests and the nun were charged. According to the CBI report, Abhaya found the accused in a compromising position at the convent kitchen when she went there to take water from the fridge. It says she was hit on her head using an axe and the accused dragged her body and dumped in the well.
The accused in the case have been charged under the Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destroying evidences) read with section 34.
In 2009, all the accused were granted bail by Kerala High Court. The CBI also claimed that much of the evidence was deliberately destroyed by the crime branch investigators while handling the case. Though some witnesses turned hostile, CBI had produced Abhaya's teacher at her college as an offside witness in 2019 September who gave a statement against the priests.
In 2009, all the accused were granted bail by Kerala High Court. HC observed that the enquiry was going off track.
K.T. Michael, former SP, Crime Branch (CB)-Kottayam, was charged as fourth accused in the case for destroying evidence, but later court asked to remove his name.
The investigation into the case, spanning 28 years, is the longest in Kerala.