Kerala nun rape case: Bishop Franco Mulakkal moves HC seeking anticipatory bail

In a police complaint, the nun had alleged that she has been raped and sexually exploited 14-times by the bishop since May 2014.

Updated - June 09, 2020 12:26 pm IST

Published - September 18, 2018 11:32 am IST - Kochi

Kochi, Kerala, 14/09/2018: Protest by Catholic nuns demanding the arrest of bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal at Vanchi square near the High Court on Friday. Photo : Thulasi Kakkat.

Kochi, Kerala, 14/09/2018: Protest by Catholic nuns demanding the arrest of bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal at Vanchi square near the High Court on Friday. Photo : Thulasi Kakkat.

Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, on Tuesday moved the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail, claiming that the allegations were “wholly concocted and cooked up, only to wreak vengeance.” He is scheduled to appear before the special investigation team of the Kerala police for questioning on Wednesday. The High Court adjourned the hearing to September 25.

When the petition came up, Director-General of Prosecution Manjeri Sreedharan Nair said a few pending public interest litigation petitions for his arrest would come up for further hearing on September 24.

Besides, he wanted to get instructions from the police in the case. He, therefore, sought adjournment of the hearing.

The bishop, in his petition, said the nun was removed from the post of Mother Superior and Kerala-in-charge on a complaint from her cousin and another nun. Therefore, she was inimical towards him as she was under the belief that he was the one who had taken action against her. Meanwhile, the sister of the nun said she expected the court to deliver justice as their protest entered the 11th day.

The nun and her family members had warned him of dire consequences if he continued to take adverse action against her, the bishop claimed. The complaint of the nun was “nothing but a fictional story” to “bring down the applicant who is holding a very high post in the congregation.”

The case was registered by the Kuravilangad police in Kottayam district on a complaint by the nun, who belonged to the Missionaries of Jesus under the Jalandhar diocese. She had alleged that she was raped by the bishop from May 5, 2014 to May 6, 2016 on 15 occasions in a room attached to the St. Francis Mission Home, Kuruvilangad. The police had issued a notice to the bishop asking him to appear before the police for interrogation on Wednesday.

The bishop, in his court petition, alleged that in her first statement to the police, the nun did not mention forceful sexual intercourse. Her conspicuous silence of more than four years since the incident was yet another indicator of the false nature of the allegation, he claimed. Meanwhile, Kottayam police have finalised the arrangements for his questioning.

Arrest not ruled out

Speaking to The Hindu , district police chief Hari Sanker said the High Court decision to postpone the hearing, will not stop the police from arresting the bishop if they found enough evidence against him.

To another question, he said the venue of questioning will be finalised at the last minute. According to sources, it could be either in Kottayam district or outside. The police had asked the bishop to be present before the investigating officer. If it is in Kottayam the venue could be the office of the Deputy SP of Vaikom K. Subhash or the facility at Ettumanur.

“The questioning will be done by the team led by the investigating officer, but senior officers including IG Vijay Sakhare and the district police chief will be present to support them,” Mr. Hari Sanker said.

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