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February 22, Thursday 2018 12:48 PM       

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       Judge recuses himself from Abhaya case trial
 
         Posted on :09:18:34 Aug 10, 2017
   
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       Last edited on:09:18:34 Aug 10, 2017
         Tags: judge, recuse, trial, Abhaya case
 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CBI special court judge Johnny Sebastian on Wednesday recused himself from hearing the sensational Sister Abhaya case. He said as the magistrate in Kochi he had recorded the sworn statement of a witness, Professor Thresseyama, in the case. The CBI had named the judge as witness number 111 in its charge sheet.

The judge’s recusal came when the court was scheduled to decide whether certain policemen and government officials should be charged for destroying crucial evidence in the case.

The CBI had earlier found that at least eight objects submitted in court as material evidence in the case had been deliberately destroyed. They included the clothes worn by 19-year-old Sister Abhaya at the time of her death at a convent in Kottayam on the night of March 27, 1992, her head scarf, a pair of slippers and personal diary.

Those under the cloud of suspicion included notably a former SP of the Crime Branch and a Revenue Divisional Officer. The CBI told the court that the destruction of evidence had occurred after the State Police Crime Branch took over the case the same year.

The DySP in charge of the probe had sought custody of the evidence as part of his investigation.

Subsequently, he made a fake record that the material objects had been returned to the court’s evidence room. However, the evidence was never returned. The transaction was only on paper. The objects, including the nun’s diary, which could have been crucial to the case, were never recovered.

The other accused in the case are Father Jose Poothrukayil, Father Thomas. M. Kottoor and Sister Stephi.

The agency’s case was that Sister Stephi had hit Abhaya three times on the head with the blunt side of an axe when the 19-year-old novice entered the convent’s kitchen to drink water and found the suspects in ‘objectionable circumstances’.

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