With the murder of 64-year-old Fr K J Thomas on the premises of the St Peter's Pontifical Seminary, a training centre for Catholic priests, remaining unsolved for three months, and with pressure mounting from the Minorities Commission and church authorities in Rome, the police subjected three key suspects to narco analysis tests.
The tests conducted on Fr Patrick Xavier and cooks Raja and Reddy, who were present on the seminary campus on the night of the murder, has provided significant leads suggesting an inside conspiracy leading to the murder, a senior police officer said. "There are grave inconsistencies in the version provided to the police by one of the three persons and the version provided under narco analysis, leading to the conclusion that this suspect has been lying to the police over the past three months on the occurrences in the seminary. This has provided some leads in the case. We would still need to work on these leads to crack the case. The narco analysis has also thrown up a line of investigation that is in tune with one of the theories we were working on," the police officer said.
Fr Thomas, who hailed from Kerala, was found dead in the early hours of April 1. He was suspected to have been killed around 2:30 am that night. He was discovered in a semi naked state in a tea room of the seminary by the only other priest, Fr Patrick, who was on campus that night after 150-odd aspiring priests left for their homes for vacation.
The priest had succumbed to injuries to his head. Despite signs of struggle and doors and furniture being overturned, no sounds were reported to have been heard by Fr Patrick who was in an adjoining room.
Initially, the attack was suspected to be part or a robbery attempt since the priest's room had been ransacked. The police had also been looking into possible internecine battle between language groups in Karnataka for control over church activities in the state as a motive behind the murder. The police were also following the theory of disgruntled student priests being involved and a power struggle over the murdered priest's likely promotion to a Bishop's position for the Ooty region.