Witness in Abhaya murder case flooded with wishes

Petty thief-turned-witness in sister Abhaya murder case flooded with wishes and rewards

Priest Thomas Kottoor and sister Sephy were found guilty and sentenced to life term by a CBI special court last week

Thomas Kottoor (centre) was one of the two pronounced guilty of the murder. Credit: PTI file photo.

Raju alias 'Adayka' Raju, a petty-thief who turned out to be crucial witness in the 28-year old sister Abhaya murder case in Kerala, is being rewarded by well-wishers for being firm on his statement and not conceding to pressure and torture to change his statement.

Not only that people are ringing up him from various places to congratulate him, but many were also learnt to be rewarding him with financial assistance after coming across his plight. There were reports that around Rs. 15 lakh reached his bank account over the last few days.

Priest Thomas Kottoor and sister Sephy were found guilty and sentenced to life term by a CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram last week for murdering Sister Abhaya at St Pius X convent at Kottayam on March 27, 1992.

While many attempts were made to scuttle the case and to frame it as a suicide, it was Raju's statement that became crucial. Raju said that when he entered the convent with intention of robbery during the early hours of the day on which Abhaya was found dead, he spotted the accused in the convent.

Though the accused questioned the credibility of Raju, the court took his statement into consideration. Raju even allegedly faced severe pressure, torture and attractive offers to change his statement. He was even allegedly threatened to be made accused of murder. But he remained firm on his statement and did not fell to the offers despite his weak financial background.

Along with recent reports of his bold stand, a section of media also highlighted his poor living conditions and also shared his bank account details.

Raju told DH that his phone has been ringing over these days with people from various parts calling him and congratulating him. Many also gave financial assistance to him through his bank. But Raju considered it as his duty to reveal the truth before the court.

Raju was given the alias name 'Adayka' (areca nut) Raju by the police as he was initially involved in cases of stealing areca nut. After the Abhaya murder case, Raju stopped robbery and is doing casual jobs to eke out a living for family.