Rape accused Bishop sent to judicial custody till Oct 6

Rape accused Bishop sent to judicial custody till Oct 6

Franco Mulakkal, the rape accused former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, was on Monday remanded by the Pala Judicial First Class Magistrate to judicial custody till October 6. Franco was later shifted to the sub-jail in Pala, in Kottayam district.

The 54-year-old former bishop is accused of having raped a Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) nun multiple times, between May 2014 and September 2016.

Franco was arrested by a special investigation team on September 21, after three days of interrogation, on charges of rape, unnatural sex, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

On September 22, the magistrate sent him to two days’ police custody. On Monday, the Kerala High Court adjourned hearing on Franco’s bail application to September 27.

Police had earlier taken Franco to the convent in Kuravilangad, Kottayam – scene of the alleged crime – and collected evidence for the probe.

Bishops slam conspiracy

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) on Monday expressed regret over Franco’s arrest which it said was “painful” for the Catholic Church. The council also prayed for “absolute justice” in the case. It, however, slammed attempts from some quarters to target the Church over the incident.

A 14-day protest by five MJ nuns, in Kochi, demanding action against Franco had won massive public support which also hastened the clergyman’s arrest. The KCBC urged believers to identify the enemies of the Church, media with vested interests and disgruntled elements within the Church who orchestrated a campaign to weaken the Church, using the rape case as a front.

“No reason will suffice to explain why some of the priests and nuns staged a roadside protest and gave an opportunity to the enemies to humiliate the Church and its administrators. Their actions were in contrast with Christian values and against interests of the Church,” Fr Varghese Vallikkatt, KCBC spokesperson, said in an official statement.





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