Nun rape case: accused bishop grilled for 6 hours

Nun rape case: accused bishop grilled for 6 hours

Questioning to continue today

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, appears for questioning before the special investigation team of the Kerala police, in Thrippunithura, Wednesday, Sept 19, 2018. (PTI Photo)

Kerala Police on Wednesday questioned Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, for over six hours in connection with the alleged rape of a Kottayam-based nun.

The interrogation, led by senior officials including Kottayam SP Hari Sankar and Vaikom DySP K Subhash, was held at the Crime Branch office in Tripunithura, in Ernakulam district.

Hari Sankar said the Bishop would appear again for questioning at 11 am on Thursday. “The interrogation is not over. He is cooperating with the questioning,” the SP told reporters. According to the complainant (a nun attached to the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) congregation), the bishop raped her multiple times between 2014 and 2016. She filed a complaint with the police in Kuravilangad in Kottayam on June 28. 

The location of interrogation was shifted, from Kottayam to Tripunithura, late on Tuesday. The 54-year-old bishop arrived at the Crime Branch office at about 11 am; the questioning lasted till past 6 pm. Details regarding his arrival in Kerala and his stay have not been disclosed. Security was tightened near the Crime Branch office where a crowd had gathered ahead of the bishop’s arrival.

The bishop, as he was leaving after the questioning, faced a black-flag protest by members of the CPI-affiliated All India Youth Federation. The rape allegation has rocked the Church and set off a series of protests across the state, including one led by MJ nuns in Kochi, since September 8. On Wednesday, a group of protesters took out a march to the Range IG’s office in Kochi.

On Tuesday, Franco approached the Kerala High Court seeking a pre-arrest bail. The court has adjourned hearing on the plea to September 25.