Newspaper Articles

A soft-spoken gentleman’

Bangalore, April 2, dhns:

Father K J Thomas, 64, served as the rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary in Malleswaram for two consecutive terms.


The seminary is a prestigious religious institution in southern India where students from across the country are trained for priesthood.


Sources in the Bangalore Archdiocese, under whose jurisdiction the institute falls, said that Fr Thomas had served in the diocese for at least 20 years in various capacities.


One of his former students recalled him as a soft-spoken man and a scholarly theologian. A senior police officer of the locality said he had known the “gentleman” priest for the last 10 years and that he had not been involved in any controversy.


Thomas is a native of Ettumanoor in Kottayam district, Kerala. He joined the Diocese of Ooty in Tamil Nadu from where he was posted to Bangalore.


Sources said his elder sister Jacqueline, a nun at Puducherry, was to arrive in the City on Monday morning and Thomas was to collect her from the City Railway Station. Jacqueline, however, arrived as scheduled and called up Thomas.


When he did not attend her calls, she turned up at the seminary in an autorickshaw only to be greeted by the tragedy of her brother’s brutal murder.


Priest murdered in Malleswaram seminary

Bangalore: April 2, 2013 DH News Service

A senior Christian priest was found brutally murdered at a seminary in Malleswaram early Monday morning.

The body of Fr K J Thomas, 64, the Rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, was lying in a pool of blood inside a coffee room adjacent to his office-cum-residence.
The motive behind the murder is yet to be ascertained.

Fr Patrick, the procurator of the seminary, was the first to discover the body and inform the Yeshwantpur police at about 6:15 am.


An officer handling the case told Deccan Herald that the assailants had struck Thomas on the forehead with a blunt weapon, leaving a deep cut on his nose. There were no other injuries on the body.

The officer said blood stains in the rector’s room and along the corridor indicated that the priest had probably tried to escape from the assailants.
The killers might have murdered him in the corridor and dumped his body in the coffee room. Shoe prints in the corridor indicate the involvement of at least three people, he said.

‘None heard anything’

While the assailants had a free run on the campus, police find it difficult to believe that none heard any commotion, especially when they had even broken open a grill door. Police said the gang may have prowled around the seminary for at least two hours.

The 150-odd students on the campus had left for their homes last week for summer vacation. Thomas and Patrick were the only two men staying at the seminary on Sunday night. One security guard had been posted at the front gate and other at the rear.
Security guard Mann Singh of Padmashree Security Services, who was at the front gate, said he saw nobody or heard anything that night and that he had been sleeping in his kiosk, as it was raining heavily.

No forcible entry

Police said that while there were no signs of forcible entry into Thomas’ room, the assailants had tried to force open the adjacent room where Patrick stayed.

Patrick told the police that he heard some sounds at his door at around 2:30 am, but did not venture out. However, officers who questioned Patrick and security guard Singh said the two had made contradictory statements. Police Commissioner B G Jyothiprakash Mirji said five special teams, including that of the Central Crime Branch, had been formed to apprehend the killers.


Rector’s body taken to Ooty

Bangalore: April 3, 2013 DH News Service

The rector of the St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary in Malleswaram, Father K J Thomas, who was found murdered early Monday morning, was given a funeral mass at the Seminary Tuesday morning.

Two of Thomas’ relatives, Joseph Mathew and Baby Chacko, had arrived from Kerala to take the body to his native place, Ettumanoor, in Kottayam.

According to sources, the funeral will be held at his native place on Friday. However, prior to the funeral, the body will be taken to Ooty where Thomas was inducted into missionary activities and a prayer will be held.


Besides relatives and his elder sister Jacqueline — a nun at Puducherry — the mass was attended by five bishops of neighbouring dioceses including Salem, Ooty and Mysore. Archbishop of Bangalore, Bernard Moras, led the mass, which began with an eulogy by Moras himself.

Meanwhile, an autopsy was conducted at M S Ramaiah Hospital. Police said the initial report had not revealed anything new.

The report states that  Thomas died of a head injury after being struck by a blunt weapon. The City police, on Tuesday, questioned Father Patrick Xavier, the procurator of the Seminary, who was sleeping in the room next to Thomas’. Xavier maintained that he didn’t hear or see anything on that fateful night.

A senior official handling the case, however, said that Xavier had provided contradicting statements which were not logical and deviate from facts gleaned from an inspection of the crime scene.

The police are also questioning Mann Singh, the security guard at the Seminary’s front gate. A senior official said that Singh claimed to have slept throughout the night in the guard’s hut as it was raining heavily.


In season of poll transfers, City policing in limbo

K V Aditya Bharadwaj, Bangalore, April 7, 2013, DHNS:

Crucial murder investigations takes backseat

Policing seems to have taken a beating in the City as several officers have been transferred in view of the May 5 Assembly polls.

After taking charge as the new police commissioner, Raghavendra Auradkar, issued transfer orders to 60 sub inspectors who had overstayed (more than three years in the same station or sub-division) and those who were residing in the same Assembly constituencies. Incidentally, 12 superintendents of police were transferred recently in the State. Sources said DCPs of North, South and Central divisions are being transferred.

According to a police official, awaiting his transfer, any further delay in transfers and postings would cripple policing in the City.

The most affected are investigations into murder cases such as the homealone woman murdered in K G Nagar and Yelahanka, the jeweller murdered in Rajajinagar and the muder of Father K J Thomas, Rector of St Peters Pontifical Seminary in Yeshwantpur.


While the DCP of South Division under whose division K G Nagar comes, has been tipped off to be transferred, as is the DCP of North division under whose division Yeshwanthpur and Rajajinagar comes.

Also Purushottam, Inspector of Police, Yeshwantpur, investigating the murder of Father K J Thomas is also likely to be transferred.

During elections, police are over-burdened with maintaining law and order. This diverts their attention from criminal investigations. Many a times crime staff are put on law and order duties, due to the staff crunch. Further, transfers of investigating officers and senior officers supervising these cases would hamper investigation.
A senior officer in the crime wing, said a system should  be evolved wherein the investigating officer briefs the new man about the case before he leaves. However, this is not the practice.

If the case is not cracked, it should be transferred to specialised crime units such as the CCB or the CID.


Archbishop seeks speedy probe into rector’s murder

Bangalore: April 19, 2013 DH News Service

Archbishop of Bangalore Archdiocese, Bernard Moras, on Friday, sought speedy investigation into Father K J Thomas murder.

He said St Peter’s Pontifical seminary was directly placed under the Vatican. So since that day, the Vatican through its ambassador in India and Bishop Conference of India has shown keen interest and concern regarding the case and to bring out the truth behind the gruesome murder.

While the police are trying their best to crack the case, it was sad that there was no breakthrough in the case even after 18 days. Meanwhile, Investigating Officer Purushottam, who was Inspector of Police, Yeshwanthpur, has been transferred on recommendations of the election commission.

The Archbishop said he had also met Governor H R Bharadwaj requesting him to ensure speedy investigation into the case.