THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a fresh development in the Sr Abhaya case, social worker Kalarcode Venugopalan Nair deposed before the court on Monday that Fr Thomas Kottoor had confessed to him that he maintained a relationship with Sr Sefi and committed a crime, but could not admit it since it would bring disgrace to the Church. Nair, the seventh witness produced by the prosecution, disclosed Kottoor’s confession before the CBI Special Court, which is hearing the sensational murder case. Nair claimed Kottoor told him this when he went to the Bishop House to meet him.
“Kottoor told me that inside his cassocks, he was also a human being. He said he wasn’t made of bricks and iron and that he had committed a wrong,” said Nair. Kottoor and Sefi are the first and third accused, respectively, in the case. Nair’s statement could lend credence to the CBI stance that the two, along with Fr Jose Poothrikkayil, had murdered the nun after she happened to see the three in a compromising position. Poothrikayil, listed as the second accused, was earlier discharged by the CBI court for want of evidence.
Nair said he had gone to meet the priest after reading a newspaper article by Dr James Vadakkumcherry against narcoanalysis test.
“Since I’m a social worker, Kottoor asked me to file a public interest litigation against narcoanalysis in the High Court. I was given Rs 5,000 to meet the expenses. But my conscience didn’t allow me to do so. The priest had already confessed to me, in trembled voice and amid tears, that he had committed a crime,” Nair told the court.
Nair said he advised Kottoor to admit to his crime. But the priest said he was not the only one who has committed such a crime. “He said he wasn’t the only one who did this. Others are not being punished this way,” Nair said. Nair also said a lot of money was spent on campaigning against narcoanalysis test. Nair reckoned he had met Kottoor twice and during one occasion, Poothrikkayil was present alongside Kottoor at the Bishop House.
“Poothrikkayil was then the editor of Apna Des, an official publication of Kottayam Archdiocese. I identified him only when he was arrested by the CBI later,” Nair said. The cross-examination of Nair was deferred to Tuesday.