Former police official who investigated Abhaya case found dead

November 25th, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kottayam (Kerala), Nov 25 (IANS) A former police official who had prepared the inquest report of Sister Abhaya, a nun who was murdered in a Kerala convent in 1992, was found dead Tuesday near his home here, the police said.V.V. Augustine, a former assistant sub-inspector of police, is reported to have slashed his wrist. In his suicide note, he held the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) responsible for his death, the police said.

Abhaya, a resident of Pious X Hostel, was found dead in the well of the Kottayam convent March 27, 1992.

Augustine last year was subjected to the truth serum test by the CBI and was recently questioned by the investigating agency over allegations of destroying crucial evidence in the Abhaya murder case.

Varghese P. Thomas, former CBI deputy superintendent of police who first concluded that Abhaya was murdered, said that Augustine would probably be under heavy mental pressure since the investigation has reached a turning point.

“It was Augustine who had prepared the inquest report of Abhaya and there were several lapses in the report. Maybe he was under duress when he prepared the inquest report and now he probably felt that he would be arrested also,” said Thomas.

Augustine’s body was found near his residence Tuesday afternoon and a large team of police officials reached the place.

On Nov 19, the 13th team of the CBI set up to probe the case - after 12 earlier teams failed - arrested Father Jose Putarika, 56, a former Malayalam professor at a Kottayam college where Abhaya studied, Father Thomas Kottor, 61, the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam, and Sister Seffi, who was a resident of the convent when the incident took place.

Last week the CBI sleuths questioned Archbishop Mathew Mulekattu for over two hours here to elicit more information about the murder of Sister Abhaya. A day earlier to that, it questioned retired bishop Kuriakose Kunnasery, who was the serving bishop when the murder took place.

The police officials said that Augustine’s body will be taken to the Kottayam Medical College Wednesday and till then the body would be left at the spot.

The CBI had concluded in November 1996 that Sister Abhaya’s death was a homicide but the murderer remained untraced. The Kerala police had earlier dismissed the case as suicide.

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