Rector murder case: Police file preliminary charge sheet

A preliminary charge sheet was filed on Tuesday before the first Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court in connection with the murder of Father K J Thomas, the Rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, Malleswaram.

The police arrested Father Illyas, Father William Patrick and Peter in mid-March this year in connection with the murder which took place on the night of March 31, 2013.The charges run into 535 pages, which include statements of as many as 117 witnesses, including Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore. Two other suspects, Francis and Swamy, are at large. The final charge sheet will be filed once the duo is arrested, said the Yeshwantpur police.

According to the police, Illyas and other suspects were unhappy with Fr Thomas’ style of functioning, as many of them were sidelined for important posts. They also wanted to bring some change in the system so that they also got equal prominence. They needed certain documents, which were kept in the seminary, to execute their  plan. The records pertained to the land granted to the seminary, and the suspects conspired to break into the seminary and obtain them, the charge sheet says.

Execution of plan

They decided to execute their plan on March 31, 2013, as it was Easter time and they knew that all the brothers and most priests in the seminary – except Fr Thomas and a few others – would be on leave. Illyas, William Patrick, Peter and others met near Yeshwantpur Circle on the night of March 31, walked up to the seminary armed with rods and other deadly weapons. On reaching there, they broke open the locks of the seminary rooms and started searching for the documents. Fr Thomas caught them in the act and when he questioned them, they fatally assaulted him, the charge sheet added.

About 50 priests and a nun, under the banner of Karnataka Kannada Dharmagurugala Balaga (forum of Kannada priests), demanded an independent and effective, impartial CBI inquiry, alleging that the police have fixed the Kannadiga priests at the behest of Archbishop Moras, State Home Minister K J George and the former DCP Victor D’Souza. George and D’Souza wanted to break the unity of the Kannada Catholic priests, they charged.

They termed the charges levelled by the police as false, fabricated, conspired and framed. They alleged that efforts were being made to nullify four decades of intensive struggle by the Kannada Christians for their just rights in the Archdiocese of Bangalore.

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