Kerala nun rape case: Bishop Franco Mulakkal granted bail by Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court granted bail to Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested on charges of repeatedly raping a nun between 2014 and 2016

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NH Web Desk

The Kerala High Court on Monday, October 15, granted bail to Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested on charges of repeatedly raping a nun between 2014 and 2016.

Granting the bail, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan directed the accused Bishop to surrender his passport and not to enter Kerala state except for appearing before the probe officer once in two weeks on Saturdays. This condition would be applicable till a charge sheet is filed in the case.

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 after three days of questioning. On September 24, he was sent to two weeks judicial custody.

Earlier on October 3, the High Court had dismissed the bail plea of the bishop while accepting the prosecution argument that the accused, holding a high position in society will try to influence witnesses in the case, if given bail.

The 54-year-old Bishop, currently lodged in a sub-jail in Pala in Kottayam district, moved the high court again after a magistrate court extended his judicial remand.

Police opposed the bail application of the clergyman, saying investigation was still on in the case.

In her complaint to the Kottayam Police in June, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions.

He had stepped aside as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese on September 15.

The nun said she had to approach the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman

A nun alleged that the Bishop who raped her and his associates were luring people to take a stand supportive of them by assuring them properties. She has petitioned the Vatican representative in India alleging that the clergyman was using "political and money power" to bury the case and sought his removal from the post.

However, Mulakkal has denied the charges as "baseless and concocted," insisting she levelled those as the Catholic order had rejected her demand for favours.

The nun said she had to approach the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.

Mulakkal, who heads the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar in Punjab, is the first bishop in the country to be jailed for rape.

(with inputs from agencies)

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