A CBI court in Kerala on Wednesday sentenced Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy to life in prison for murdering Sister Abhaya and throwing her body into the well of a Kottayam convent in 1992. That Abhaya’s murderers were convicted after 28 years owes much to the work of B Sreejan, now an editor at the Times of India, who revealed in April 2007 that the forensic report had been tampered with to shield the priest and the nun. Sreejan reported for the New Indian Express back then and his story resulted in the reopening of the case.
Speaking to the , PD Sarangadharan, former chief judicial magistrate, Ernakulam, said Sreejan’s report played a “crucial role” in keeping alive the Abhaya case, including in public memory. Sarangadharan had rejected the CBI’s 2007 report stating Abhaya, a 21-year-old nun, had been murdered, but the agency couldn’t find those responsible.
In an , originally published in Malayalam, Sreejan said the last four months of the trial were crucial. “On trial days, I waited outside the courtroom for hours. The experience made me concerned about judgement day. The accused had rallied famous lawyers such as B Raman Pillai, J Jose, and every day prosecution witnesses turned hostile,” he recounted. “The Supreme Court did not consider the narcoanalysis test results valid and that was the only scientific evidence. The CBI prosecutor, a relatively junior lawyer named M Navas, stood firm as the lone warrior, along with Jomon Puthenpurakkal, who has been appearing in the court to witness the trial crowd for the past 28 years.”