The Kerala High Court on Monday granted bail to bishop Franco Mulakkal, an accused in a case relating to alleged rape of a nun, on stringent conditions.
The court's conditions are that he should appear before the investigating officers once every fortnight; not enter Kerala except for appearing before the officers; and surrender his passport before the subordinate court concerned.
The bishop in his second bail petition said the High Court had dismissed his bail plea citing the reason that the statements of several witnesses would have to be recorded. In fact, the statements of the witnesses under Section 164 of CrPC had been recorded now. Therefore, the prosecution did not harbour any fear now that the witnesses would be threatened or influenced. Besides, he no longer held the charge of the Jalandhar diocese. As a result, he was not in a domineering position at this stage to influence the witnesses or tamper with the evidence as apprehended by the prosecution.
Mulakkal has been in jail since his arrest on September 21, 2018. 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 14 occasions in a room attached to the St. Francis Mission Home, Kuruvilangad.
In his petition, Mulakkal said the allegations were “wholly concocted and cooked up only to wreak vengeance” for the action taken against her. His counsel argued that the nun was inimical towards him since she was removed from the post of Mother Superior and Kerala in-charge on a complaint from her cousin and another nun. His counsel also claimed that further detention was not needed since he had been interrogated for hours before and after his arrest.