Bishop Accused Of Raping Kerala Nun Goes To Top Court, Seeks To End Case

Bishop Franco Mulakkal in his petition to the Supreme Court said he has been implicated in the case and questioned the financial dealings of the nun

Bishop Franco Mulakkal is accused of raping a nun several times between 2014 and 2016

New Delhi:

A bishop from Punjab's Jalandhar has approached the Supreme Court seeking to clear rape charges against him. Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping a nun several times between 2014 and 2016 in Kerala. The 43-year-old nun filed a complaint with Kottayam police in June 2018.

Mulakkal in his petition to the Supreme Court said he has been implicated in the case and questioned the financial dealings of the nun.

Both the Kerala High Court and the trial court had dismissed Mulakkal's plea to clear the charges against him and directed him to face trial.

The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab.

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Kerala Police arrested Mulakkal in September 2018 after several rounds of questioning. He was freed on bail after 40 days.

Mulakkal was removed as the Jalandhar bishop after the rape allegations surfaced. The SIT has filed a chargesheet against him.

The trial was scheduled to start on November 11 last year, but it was put off till November 30. It was again deferred to January 6 this year after Mulakkal sought more time.

Later, he filed a discharge plea in the trial court in Kottayam, seeking to clear charges against him, claiming that the rape survivor implicated him after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.

On July 1, Mulakkal skipped a hearing at the Kottayam additional district court on the grounds that his house was in a coronavirus containment zone. The public prosecutor then pointed out the area was not a containment zone and that it was a deliberate attempt to delay the case.

The bishop has been charged with rape, wrongful confinement, unnatural offence and criminal intimidation.

The nun has said she had to approach the police after church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints. She and other nuns living in the same hostel had repeatedly complained of intimidation and pressure from church authorities. The nuns have alleged the church was trying to separate them from the survivor.