KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday asked the CBI why Fr Varghese Thekkekkara, the first accused in the Malankara Varghese murder case, was not arrested, if there was evidence against him.
Justice K Hema asked this while considering the anticipatory bail application filed by Fr Thekkekkara, and petition filed by Varghese’ widow Saramma alleging that the CBI was showing discrimination in arresting the accused.
The CBI submitted that Fr Thekkekkara cooperated with the investigation, but the arrest was avoided since it was a sensational case related to the Church. But the court said this was not a sufficient reason to avoid arrest. “It is not the first time that a priest is arrayed as an accused. Does the CBI has a practice of not arresting those who cooperate with the investigation?,” the court asked.
The court directed the CBI to produce the evidence and documents against Fr Thekkekkara on Tuesday. There is also a direction to produce the case diary. Counsel for Saramma alleged that Fr Thekkeara was not arrested owing to a conspiracy.“The chargesheet says the priest directly handed over Rs 55,000 to a goonda gang leader after committing the crime,” he submitted. Varghese’s murder is assumed to be a part of the rivalry between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.
Varghese, the managing trustee, was hacked and stabbed to death by hired goondas at Perumbavoor on December 5, 2002.