THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The prosecution found a trusted ally in a scrap dealer from Kottayam who told the CBI Special Court hearing Sister Abhaya murder case that the Crime Branch had tortured him and his brother to pressurise them to give statement against petty thief Adakka Raju, the key witness in the 27-year-old case.
The scrap dealer, MM Shameer, told the court on Wednesday that Raju sold him the copper plates that he had stolen from Pius X Convent and that the Crime Branch sleuths tortured him and his brother Riyas for several days to extract statement vilifying Raju.
Shameer said the Crime Branch officers wanted him and his brother to state that Raju had murdered Abhaya. Shameer was kept in custody for two days, while his brother for six days.
Shameer said he was released after the Crime Branch nabbed Adakka Raju, but his brother’s
torture continued. “Riyas was given harsh punishment to make him give a statement that Abhaya was killed by Raju,” he said. Shameer told the court that a police team comprising Crime Branch SP KT Michael, DySP Thamban and constable Joy brutally assaulted them while in detention.
Since the brothers did not parrot the Crime Branch’s version, the police fabricated several theft cases against Raju, he said.
“I was made a witness in 28 cases. I told the court that 25 of them were fabricated and Raju was acquitted in those cases. In the rest of the three cases he was convicted, I gave statement against him,” Shameer said.
Convent inmate turns hostile
Another inmate of the convent, who was listed as the prosecution witness turned hostile in court. Nisha Rani, who had earlier testified before the CBI about the indecent behaviour of Sister Sefi, the third accused in the case, denied giving such a statement. It should be noted that the CBI case was that Abhaya was murdered by the first accused Fr Thomas Kottoor, second accused Fr Jose Poothrikkayil and third accused Sefi after she happened to see the accused in a compromising position. Poothrikkayil was later discharged by the CBI court for want of evidence.
When the prosecution began to examine Nisha’s statement on Sefi that she had given to the CBI, the defence raised objection. Their argument was that the question was meant to do character assassination of the nun. However, Nisha said she did not give such a statement to the agency.