Kerala High Court grants bail to Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy, convicts in Sister Abhaya murder case

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A division bench of Kerala High Court has granted interim bail to Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy, who were convicted by a CBI court in 2020 for the murder of a nun called Sister Abhaya in 1992.

The priests had moved the High Court seeking suspension of their sentence and also for grant of interim bail.  A division bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran allowed their application for suspension and granted them interim bail subject to furnishing personal bond of ₹5 lakh each and two solvent sureties of the same amount.

Sister Abhaya was found dead inside the well of a convent in March 1992. The Kerala State police had in 1993 filed a closure report concluding that it was a case of suicide. The matter was then handed over to CBI after a public uproar and a court litigation.

CBI in 1996 filed a report saying that it could not come to a concrete conclusion, which was rejected by the Court, which ordered a re-investigation. Five years after the nun’s murder, in 1997, the CBI had stated that it was a case of homicide.

In 2008, Father Thomas Kottoor, Father Jose Poothrukayil, and Sister Sephy were arrested and charged for murder. It was stated that the Father Kotoor and Sister Sephy had murdered Sister Abhaya after she inadvertently found them in a “compromising position”

Finally, in December 2020, Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy, were convicted by a CBI Judge, Thiruvananthapuram for murder and were awarded life imprisonment alongwith a fine of ₹5 lakh each.

The convicts had moved an appeal against the said judgment. The same is pending before a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court since January 2021.

Case Title: Father Kottoor vs. CBI