The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to Rev. Fr. R. Rajarathinam (55), Principal of St. Joseph's College in Tiruchi, and three other clergymen in a rape case registered against them on the basis of a complaint lodged by a former clergywoman.

Justice G. Rajasuria directed Fr. Rajarathinam to appear before the All Women police station at Fort in Tiruchi on Monday for interrogation.

Thereafter, he was ordered to sign at the police station daily until further orders. The three other accused were granted advance bail without any condition.

Rev. Fr. Devados, Jesuit Provincial (head of Jesuit organisations) based at Dindigul; Rev. Fr. Joe Xavier, legal counsel to the Provincial, and Rev. Fr. Xavier Vedham, professor, Arulanandar College at Karumattur near here, were accused of attempting to suppress the alleged crime.

The judge recorded submissions made by petitioners' counsel Isaac Mohanlal that the complainant's allegations could not be believed for she had given three different versions of her relationship with Fr. Rajarathinam.

She admitted to have yielded to his desire in a letter written to Superior General of St. Anne's Generalate at Crawford on August 25, 2010 seeking forgiveness. In a letter written to the Provincial on September 23, she claimed to have been raped. Subsequently, in her complaint to the police, she alleged to have been raped under the influence of drugs. Further, she claimed to have been raped first on January 22, 2006.

She also reportedly aborted in April 2008 but has preferred to lodge a complaint only now thereby raising doubts over her genuineness, the counsel said.

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