The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team investigating the mysterious death of a nun, Sister Abhaya, on Tuesday told the Kerala High Court it has information but does not have enough evidence to implicate the accused.
It is the first time that the CBI in an open court has admitted this in the 16-year-old case.
Justice V Ramkumar grilled CBI deputy superintendent of police RK Agarwal.
The judge asked the CBI official if he knew who were the culprits, to which Agarwal said, "Yes".
"Then why don't you arrest them?" asked the judge. The CBI official said that to make the arrest, more evidence was needed.
The CBI official informed the judge that the CBI is under no pressure or duress with regard to the investigation.
The judge asked the registrar of the high court to ensure that he gets a report from the Bangalore-based Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) after it compared two sets of CDs of the narco analysis tests done on two priests and a nun in connection with the Sister Abhaya's death.
Early this month, the judge asked the CFSL director to send the original CD of the tests to the high court registrar and not to the CBI as he was unhappy with the single CD that the CBI had submitted to the court.
The two sets of CDs include the three CDs that were given by the CFSL directly to the court and the single CD, which the CBI submitted to it last month.
Sister Abhaya, a resident of Pious X Hostel near here, was found dead in the well of the convent March 27, 1992.
The CBI concluded in November 1996 that the death was a homicide but the murderer remained untraced. The Kerala police earlier dismissed the case as suicide.
Three previous CBI teams have failed to crack the mystery behind Abhaya's death.
Counsel for the CBI has for long been saying that Abhaya was murdered but there was lack of evidence to nail the culprits. He also says that the state police and the Crime Branch have destroyed evidence during the previous investigations.
The case came into the limelight in April last year after a newspaper reported that Abhaya's medical reports were tampered with at the Chemical Examiners Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram.
Two officials of the laboratory, suspected of having tampered with the report, are currently on bail.
The case has seen several ups and downs and last week the CBI reversed its decision to transfer RM Krishna, the team leader who had done the narco-analysis test of the two priests and the nun in Bangalore last year.
Krishna had last week replaced RS Punia, who had succeeded the former in July.