Father Jose Poothrukkayil acquitted in Sister Abhaya murder case
By Express News Service | Published: 08th March 2018 01:31 AM |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fr Jose Poothrukkayil, an accused in the sensational Sr Abhaya murder case, has been acquitted by a special CBI court here on Wednesday. The court, however, rejected the discharge petitions of the other accused duo of Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sr Sephy, who will have to continue facing the trial.
The CBI court observed the prosecution had failed to come up with any substantial evidence or eye-witness account to prove Poothrukkayil visited the convent on the day of the incident. He was earlier arraigned as the second accused in the case.
Sr Abhaya, an inmate of Pius X convent in Kottayam, was found dead in the well on its premises on March 27, 1992. The local police and the Crime Branch, which initially probed the case, concluded it was a case of suicide. However, a year later, the case was reopened and taken up by the CBI after the Crime Branch’s investigation was found unsatisfactory. DySp Varghese P Thomas, who led the CBI investigation, had made a breakthrough in the case stating Sr Abhaya was murdered. In 2008, Fr Kottoor, Fr Poothrukkayil and Sr Sephy were arrested, but released on bail a few months later.
In 2009, the CBI submitted the charge sheet in the case, claiming strong evidence was available against the two priests and nun. The agency also claimed in its reports the priests and nun had physical relationship, and Sr Abhaya found them in a compromising position inside the hostel prompting them to murder her. Last month, CBI special judge J Nazar heard the arguments presented by the three accused in the discharge petitions. Crime Branch former DySP K T Michel, who was investigating the case initially, was recently arraigned in the case on charges of destroying evidence and hatching conspiracy.
Partially happy with the judgment: Fr Poothrukkayil
Kottayam: Fr Jose Poothrukkayil, who was acquitted from the sensational Sr Abhaya murder case by the Special CBI Court on Wednesday said he was partially happy with the court’s judgement. He was responding to the CBI court’s judgement here on Wednesday. He, however, said he would be completely happy only when other two persons, Fr Thomas M Kottoor and Sr Sefi, are also acquitted from the case as they were also innocent. “Thirty nine years have passed after I became a priest. I am always truthful to priesthood. I never did any kind of immature behaviour towards anybody. Also, I don’t have hatred towards anybody. I always strongly believe that God’s merciful eyes would follow us everywhere,” he said. Fr Poothrukkayil added he would disclose more details regarding the case after the court pronounces its final judgement in the case.
Priest discharged in Abhaya murder case
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Father Jose Poothrikkayil, the second accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case, was acquitted by the CBI special court here on Wednesday. The discharge petitions of the first accused Fr Thomas M. Kottoor and third accused Sister Sephy were rejected.
Abhaya was found dead in the well of the Pius X convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. The CBI case is that the accused murdered her after she witnessed their illicit affairs.
The CBI special court acquitted Fr Poothrikkayil on the grounds that the CBI had failed to provide evidence to prove his presence at the convent on the day of Abhaya’s death. The discharge petitions of the two others were rejected as the CBI could provide sufficient evidence.
While the CBI is likely to approach the High Court against the special court order to discharge Fr. Poothrikkayil, Fr. Thomas Kottoor and Sr. Sephy are likely to approach the High Court seeking discharge.
Activists Jomon Puthenpurackal, who has been pursuing the case, said that lapses on the part of the CBI prosecutor had led to the discharge of Fr Poothrikkayil. He also said that though the CBI court allowed his discharge, the court order mentioned about his illicit affair with the nun.
The Crime Branch and CBI teams which initially probed the case had concluded that it was a case of suicide. But a further probe by the CBI in 2008 arraigned the two priests and one nun invoking murder charges. The chargesheet was filed in 2009 mainly on the basis of scientific evidence like narco analysis test. The three filed the discharge petition in 2011.
Recently, the CBI court had also ordered that Crime Branch former DySP K.T. Michel should be arraigned in the case on charges of destroying evidence and hatching a conspiracy. But the order was stayed by the High Court.
Two teens dead within days of each other, one community lives ‘in fear’ of another in Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi
The charred body of Ajay Jatav, 14, was found Monday, some 250 m from the spot where his friend Neeraj Jatav had been murdered on March 2, during Holi celebrations.
One of the boys was 16, his friend 14. They died three days apart, one allegedly beaten to death, the other burned beyond recognition. Their neighbours at Jatav Basti, a small settlement for Scheduled Caste members in Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi, say they are living in constant fear of meeting a similar fate.
The charred body of Ajay Jatav, 14, was found Monday, some 250 m from the spot where his friend Neeraj Jatav had been murdered on March 2, during Holi celebrations.
The two deaths, particularly the second, has become the subject of debate with Jatav Basti residents accusing members of the Gurjar community of threatening them, and Dalit rights activists alleging that one boy was murdered because he had witnessed the murder of the other. While police have not yet committed whether Ajay was murdered or committed suicide, the matter has taken a political turn with the state Congress taking it up.
At Jatav Basti, Ajay’s brother Rahul said, “Ajay used to work at a shop near the cloth store where Neeraj worked part-time. When Neeraj was attacked, Ajay tried to save him.” Their eldest brother, Harikishan, alleged that Ajay was killed because he had witnessed Neeraj’s murder. “We are living under extreme fear, and facing threats from the Gurjar community,” Harikishan said.
Their father Rajveer Jatav, spoke between tears as relatives tried to console him. “Ajay couldn’t have committed suicide…We know that. We want justice,” Rajveer said.
Ajay’s family has lodged an FIR against eight men, all of the Gurjar community, alleging that they burned him alive. No one has been arrested yet, with the police yet to establish murder. In connection with Neeraj’s murder, the police have arrested three people, all of whom belong to the Gurjar community, besides detaining a minor.
Ajay’s family has also named a local politician’s husband, a Jatav, and alleged that his activities are suspicious.
A few hundred metres from Ajay’s house, a small group of people sat under a tree near Neeraj’s house. “I was walking in the village when a man from the Gurjar community hurled casteist abuse at me and warned, ‘Agey agey dekho hota hai kya (wait and see what happens next)’,” alleged Dharmendra Jatav, Neeraj’s uncle.
Jatav Basti is next to the settlement where Gurjars live. “Most of us Jatavs are labourers. For the last few days, we have not gone out to work out of fear. Many of our children have not gone to school either. Yesterday, two people from the Gurjar community came and warned us that we should settle for a compromise,” said Shyamlal Jatav, a resident.
Dalit rights activists alleged that Ajay’s death is being presented as a suicide to protect those who killed him. “I met Neeraj’s family Tuesday and saw two Gurjar men pushing for a compromise. They threatened us, too,” alleged Rinki Verma, state general secretary of Public Against Corruption, an organisation she claims is inspired by the ideology of B R Ambedkar.
State Congress president Sachin Pilot said a party delegation would travel to Bhiwadi Thursday. “Atrocities against Dalits and the underprivileged in the society is on the increase. It cannot be without the tacit support of the present administration,” Pilot said.
Khemchand Dhamani, the Alwar district president of the Congress SC/ST cell, demanded police protection for residents of Jatav Basti. “The two deaths are definitely murder and we demand police protection for residents of Jatav Basti as they are facing threats. Ajay was killed because he was an eyewitness to the death of Neeraj… All the accused as well as [the politician’s husband] who is a Jatav and has been named as suspicous should be investigated,” said Dhamani.
Vikrant Sharma, station house officer of Bhiwadi police station, said the postmortem report is yet to arrive. “We haven’t received any complaint about people in Jatav Basti getting threats,” said Sharma.
Members of the Gurjar community denied allegations about the threats. “Here Gurjars and Dalits live as families; neither can do without the other. Many of them work for us. No threats have been made and the accused have been framed. We know nothing about the murder,” said Kanhaiyalal Tanwar, father of one of the accused, Vicky Gurjar.
As for what happens next, one Jatav Basti resident said: “We can skip work for one day, but we will have to step out after some time to earn our livelihood. After all, we are poor people.”
Titwala rape and murder: Woman describes attacker, cops prepare sketch
Superintendent of Police Thane (Rural) Mahesh Patil said, “We have prepared a sketch of the accused based on the woman’s statement.”
The THANE Rural police investigating the case of a 30-year-old woman who was raped after her boyfriend was murdered by an unidentified man late Monday night at Titwala have prepared a sketch of the suspect based on the woman’s statement. The woman told the police that the man appeared to be in his 30s and was wearing a cream shirt and brown trousers. In her statement to police, the woman said this was the first time she had come to the particular spot near Nalimbi village on the Ambernath-Chinchpada Road where the incident took place.
The police are, however, puzzled that the accused, who allegedly shot the woman’s boyfriend for refusing to hand over his bike, did not flee with the bike. “Our suspicion is that the accused is a history-sheeter as not only did he have a gun but also switched off the (woman’s) mobile instantly as he was aware that we would track him,” an officer linked to the case said. “What has surprised us is that while the accused fought with the deceased because of the bike, he eventually did not take the bike with him. The spot where the incident took place is an isolated stretch and there are no CCTV cameras there. We are questioning the villagers and hoping the sketch will help in identifying the accused,” the officer said.
Superintendent of Police Thane (Rural) Mahesh Patil said, “We have prepared a sketch of the accused based on the woman’s statement.” In her statement, the 30-year-old, who works as a beautician, said she had been in a relationship with murdered man for the past seven years. The man worked for his brother who owns a Chinese stall at Ambernath. He would often take his brother’s Bullet and go on long rides with her, she added. On Monday night, he picked her up from Ambernath station around 8.30 pm following which they went to Nalimbi village on the Ambernath-Chinchpada road.
“As we reached (the spot), he (the boyfriend) felt the air in the tyre was less. We then headed back to a petrol pump and got air filled. We later returned to the same spot. As we reached, he went down to relieve himself. As he came up, the accused also came from the forested area around the road near Nalimbi village,” the woman said in her statement. She added that the accused, who was wearing a cream shirt and brown pants and appeared to be in his 30s came to the spot. He told the man to hand over the bike’s keys to him. The two got into a physical fight. The accused then pulled out his revolver and fired at the man, killing him, the woman said in her statement. She added that she was scared. The accused then threatened her and raped her.
Ratanmala alleged rape and murder case
IMPHAL, Mar 7: Accused examination of Ratanmala alleged rape and murder case has been fixed on March 31, and the prosecution witness of the trial case was closed today.
The accused of the case, Soibam Dhanabir (40) s/o S Tomba of Ningombam Mayai Leikai, who is presently out on bail, appeared before the Court for the trial today.
The APP of the State prayed before the Court to close the prosecution witness of the trial case from the side of the prosecution after which the Court fixed the accused examination of the case against the Soibam Dhanabir on March 31.
The IO of the case, Thokchom Vikramjit, Commanding Officer of 3rd IRB (then SDPO Singjamei) gave his submission before the court on February 26.
It may be mentioned that the victim, RK Ratanmala, was found brutally murdered at Poila paddy fields (located between Hiyangthang and Langthabal Phuramakhong) on January 30, 2010, a day after she went out of her home.
She was found with her phanek lifted up to her waist and with her sweater and inner wear removed thus raising suspicion that she might have been raped before she was murdered by the accused.
Straws were also found scattered in and around the area where the body was found and apart from stangulation marks on her neck, injuries were also found on the victim’s head suspected to be caused by a hard object.
The accused of the case surrendered himself before the police, a few days after the incident.
Police red-faced again as 4 ‘wrongly’ held for rape-murders get interim bail
Sanjay Yadav| TNN | Mar 8, 2018, 07:15 IST
Justice Surinder Gupta passed the order while hearing a petition filed by four suspects — Sandeep, Amarjeet, Karamjeet and Rahul Verma — after the CBI submitted a chargesheet against four members of “Axle gang” in the case.This is the second case in which Haryana Police is facing flak for a botched-up investigation in the recent past. Police had arrested a Gurugram private school’s bus driver for allegedly murdering a Class II student last September, but he was acquitted by a city court after the CBI found no incriminating evidence against him.
Counsel for petitioners in the Dingerheri gang rape and murder case, Pardeep Rapria, said the court had also asked the CBI to produce evidence collected by it in the case. Rapria also said the CBI, during hearing of the case, had informed the court that it could not find any evidence against the four youths, but the investigation is still on.
The youths were arrested after a 40-year-old farmer and his wife were beaten to death and their two nieces were raped by a gang of four armed men, who barged into their home in Dingerheri village of Nuh district in Mewat off the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway on the intervening night of August 24 and 25 in 2016. A special investigation team (SIT) led by former IG (Rewari) arrested the four accused within four days of the crime, triggering resentment among villagers who alleged that the cops had nabbed the youths and made them the accused in a haste. Following this, the case was transferred to CBI for probe. Finally, on December 5, 2016, the CBI took over the investigation.
The case almost fell flat after four others — Hemant Chauhan, Ayan Chauhan, Vinay alias Lambu and Jai Bhagwan of ‘Axle gang’— arrested by the Gurugram police on September 13, 2017, confessed to their involvement in Dingerheri gang rape and murders. Later, a chargesheet was also submitted against them in the special CBI court in Panchkula. These four youths were arrested initially for their alleged role in the gang rape of two women in Madpura, Pataudi. Later, during the investigation, they also confessed that they gang raped two women and murdered a couple in Mewat’s Dingerheri. The Gurugram police later sent their confessional report to the CBI. According to the report, the gang members confessed, “While Dharmu, Munna and Jai Bhagwan thrashed the man and his wife with sticks, Lambu took their two nieces inside the room at gunpoint. Another man who was sleeping inside the room was also thrashed. After locking up the family members in another room, the four men gang-raped the two women.”
“We have been pleading to the authorities that our children are innocent, but they framed the youths and destroyed their future. We were told that there was strong evidence against them. We are happy that they are out of jail now,” Karamjeet Yadav, a relative of one of the four youths, said, adding that the court asked the CBI to complete the investigation soon, otherwise our children would be granted permanent bail. Union minister and Gurugram MP Rao Inderjeet Singh said he would write to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, seeking strict action against erring cops and a probe into how these four youths were implicated in the case.