IN THE early hours of March 27, 1992, Raju, a petty thief, was in the compound of the Pius Xth convent in Kottayam, hoping to steal something worthwhile. Instead, what he saw that day made him a prime witness in the murder of Sr Abhaya. It was God’s will that he was there, he says.
“I’m very happy today. Maybe it was God’s will that I be present there at that time. Many people over the years have approached me with crores of rupees for changing my testimony. But I have not taken a single paisa from them,” Raju, who has since reformed, told reporters after the court verdict.
He alleged that police, especially the crime branch, which investigated the case before the CBI tried to foist the murder charge on him, citing his presence in the compound.
He alleged that he was tortured by several officers to get him to change his testimony.
Speaking about Sr Abhaya, he said, “She was like a daughter to me. I always knew that she would get justice and today, it has happened. I’m so happy that I might drink tonight.”
Raju was the third witness in the case, whose testimony during the trial paved the way for the conviction of the accused.
Raju had told the CBI he had seen Father Thomas Kottoor and Father Jose Puthrukkayil in the convent compound in the early hours of the day Sister’s Abhaya’s body was fished out of the well.
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