Indian bishop arrested on charges of raping nun

Indian bishop arrested on charges of raping nun

Kochi: Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, on Tuesday filed an anticipatory bail application in the Kerala high court, claiming that the allegations against him were a "cooked up" story to "wreak vengeance".

The investigating team, meanwhile, are quizzing the bishop for the third consecutive day. He was interrogated by a five-member CID team led by Vaikom Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subash.

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. The contention of the accused that the allegation against him was the outcome of a conspiracy had collapsed in the face of the evidence collected by the police and the information gathered after questioning. Earlier, a case was registered against the Missionaries of Jesus for circulating the photograph of the rape victim. "He has been arrested under the pressure of the protest led by nuns". "They are forcing people to hit the streets to press for justice".

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The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) had said on Thursday that Pope Francis had temporarily relieved Mulakkal of his pastoral responsibilities, a decision welcomed by the protesting nuns who termed the development as the "first victory" in their fight against the former bishop. "We can not crucify an innocent soul based on such allegations", reported News18. After taking over in 2013, he said Punjabis are not fit to be appointed to the post of bishop.

While the cleric has been served a notice to appear before a probe team for interrogation on September 19, the investigation has already been stretched to over 70 days. However, the police reportedly submitted an affidavit which states that investigations so far reveal that the bishop had abused his position of power and raped the nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016.