Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Bishop Franco Mulakkal likely to be arrested

Bishop Franco Mulakkal likely to be arrested

The following development comes to light after it was reported that the Kerala police had summoned Franco Mulakkal to Crime Branch in Kochi for questioning the rape case.

A Catholic bishop in India's southern state of Kerala was arrested Friday in the alleged rape of a nun, according to a police official.

The Vatican, meanwhile, announced that the bishop has been relieved from the pastoral responsibilities of Jalandhar diocese temporarily.

Mulakkal, who has been accused by the nun's of repeated sexual assault between 2014 and 2016, recently temporarily relinquished his administrative responsibilities. However, Missionaries of Jesus, the congregation to which the nuns belong to has reportedly conducted an internal probe into the matter and found out that the survivor nun has allegedly conspired against the bishop.

Independent legislator PC George, who had drawn outrage earlier this month for calling the nun "a prostitute" before apologising, today said the bishop was being framed by the investigators.

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The bishop was questioned for more than six hours on Wednesday and again for eight hours on Thursday. Mulakkal approached the high court for anticipatory bail, the hearing for which was adjourned to 25 September. "If he is able to do so fine, otherwise we would take the necessary action", said IG-Kochi range Vijay Sakhare. "But the police force behaves like this often, only when influential people are involved", says criminal advocate Paneer Selvam, practising in Tamil Nadu, who says he can mention multiple cases of immediate arrests when rape is in question.

The officer refused to answer when asked whether the bishop would be arrested on Friday. Mulakkal has rejected the allegations, calling them a conspiracy against the church.

Several priests and nuns have been protesting against the bishop in Kerala. On Thursday, activists staged a protest outside the Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, demanding that the priest be arrested.

Mr Sankar told reporters on Friday that the police would now investigate charges of rape, illegal confinement, unnatural sex and intimidation.

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