CBI questions head of Syrian Jacobite Church in murder caseOctober 21st, 2011 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS
Kochi, Oct 21 (IANS) The supreme head of the Syrian Jacobite Church, Catholicos Baselios Thomas-I, appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at its office here Friday in connection with a murder case.
According to CBI sources, the supreme religious head was closeted with investigating officials for three hours.
The CBI made the first breakthrough in the case when in April last year it arrested Joy Varghese alias Cement Joy, who confessed he had hired criminals to murder Malankara Varghese in December 2002 for a large sum of money.
The murder is believed to be a fallout of the long standing feud between the Malankara Orthodox Church, headquartered in Kottayam, and the Syrian Jacobite Church, which has its headquarters in Ernakulam district.
The century-old feud between the two churches has always been a bother for successive governments in the state and, on several occasions in the past, feuds between the followers of the two churches have ended in brawls.
In May last year, the CBI filed its chargesheet, naming priest Varghese Thekekara, manager of the Angamali diocese of the Syrian Jacobite Church, as the first accused in the murder of Malankara Varghese.
The priest is currently out on bail.
Soon after the chargesheet was filed, Saramma Varghese, widow of the murdered Malankara Varghese, said that without the help of church higher-ups, this would not have happened.
She later filed a petition before the Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate that the investigation could not be completed without questioning the church higher-ups and the magistrate gave the nod to the CBI to go ahead with their job.
CBI sources pointed out that the bishop denied any knowledge in the murder of Thomas and has been a strong votary against anyone indulging in violence.
It was the CBI’s Chennai unit which began the investigation in September 2007, after five long years of probe by the state police’s crime branch yielded nothing conclusive.
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