Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a Catholic priest who was arrested by the Kerala police for allegedly raping a 44-year old nun, has been granted bail by the Kerala High Court.
According to reports, the Kerala High Court on Monday has issued some directions to the rape accused before approving his bail plea. The court ordered the bishop to be present before the investigating officer once in two weeks. The rape accused bishop has also been asked to surrender his passport to the court and it has also prohibited him from entering Kerala.
Interestingly, the prosecution did not object to Bishop Franco’s bail plea. However, they asked the court to grant bail to Franco on strict conditions. The court further warned the accused of cancellation of his bail if he is found to be violating any of the conditions.
Earlier, the bishop had moved the high court after a magistrate’s court in Pala rejected his bail application. On October 3, the Kerala High Court had heard his petition and had dismissed the bail plea. At that time Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan had accepted the prosecution’s argument that if the Bishop is granted bail, he may try to influence witnesses. He is currently under judicial remand in a sub-jail at Pala in Kottayam district.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested by the police officials on September 21st after the investigating team finally found evidence that linked him in the sexual harassment case. The court had pointed out the availability of evidence to pursue the case and evidence shows that there are materials that prima facie show that the allegations against the Bishop are true and serious.
Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, is said to have raped the nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and exploited her sexually on several other occasions. The nun has registered a complaint in June this year and has been allegedly threatened by the accused of doing so. The congregation has also stood by the rape accused and referred to him as an “innocent soul”. We had also reported that Kerala MLA PC George had called the alleged rape victim a ‘prostitute’.