The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday acquitted two former staff members of the Chemical Examination Lab in connection with the case pertaining to the alleged tampering of the chemical analysis report in the murder case of Catholic nun Abhaya in 1992.
Then chief chemical examiner R Geetha and then chemical analyst M Chitra have now been acquitted in the case, registered in 2007. The case followed a complaint from activist Jomon Puthenpurackal, who had relied upon a newspaper report that the work book register pertaining to the examination of internal organs of Abhaya was tampered with to cover up that the nun was raped before being murdered.
The CJM found that the charges against the alleged accused were untenable.
The nun’s body was found in her convent well in Kottayam in March 1992.
The issue related to the tampering of the chemical examination workbook came up in 2007. The case related to the tampering gave a fresh impetus for the probe into the mysterious death of the nun. A year later, in 2008, the CBI had arrested two priests and a nun in the Abhaya murder case in 2008, in a different case.
According the complainant, the manuscript of the workbook report at the laboratory pertaining to chemical examinations of Abhaya’s vaginal swabs and smear had shown corrections in four places. Referring to the presence of semen in the swabs, the word “detected” and the word “not” added.
The court acted swiftly and ordered the police to seize the original work register, which was sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad to examine whether the register was manipulated or not. The CFSL had found that the workbook was tampered with. Subsequently, the court framed charges against lab officials Geetha and Chitra. They were slapped with conspiracy, forgery and tampering.
Whereas the stand of the alleged accused was it was a usual practice at the laboratory to enter preliminary findings in the register. If required, the preliminary entries would be corrected during the detailed examination and necessary corrections made in the final report.
Geetha and Chitra said they were relieved from seven years of torture. “Some vested interests in the office might have worked against us. Otherwise, why was the issue was raked up in 2007, 15 years after we prepared the chemical report,” they asked.