Vaikkom deputy superintendent of police K Subash Kumar, who was probing the rape charges against former bishop Franco Mulakkal has been transferred. The cop, who was transferred on Wednesday, triggered allegations that the move has been intentionally made to weaken the case against the former Jalandhar bishop. However, according to The Hindustan Times, a senior officer who did not want to be named, said that the cop’s transfer was a routine affair and that this will not affect the investigations. This has however led to a protest from nuns who have come out in support of the survivor.
Kumar has been transferred to some place in Idukki district. A Kerala nun had filed a complaint against the bishop last year in June, after which, other nuns too came out in her support. The transfer has received strong criticism from the nuns who are of the view that it has been made intentionally to weaken the case and to save the once-powerful Bishop. There also have been earlier attempts to silence them.
Superintendent of police K Subash Kumar, who was probing the rape charges against former bishop Franco Mulakkal has been transferred.
“The trial in the case began only last month (May 10) and we fear that DySP K Subash Kumar’s transfer will affect the case. There have been many attempts to silence some witnesses. His transfer at this stage raises many doubts,” said Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who sat on dharna last year in Kochi seeking action against the bishop.
Yet another controversy
The case against the powerful bishop from Jalandhar isn’t new to controversies. Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a priest of the Jalandhar diocese who was a key witness in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was found dead in Punjab in October 2018. The 62-year-old had earlier filed a complaint against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. He was found lying unconscious by his assistant at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dasuya sub-division. Though he was rushed to the hospital, he was declared brought dead.
The trial in the case began only last month (May 10) and we fear that DySP K Subash Kumar’s transfer will affect the case. There have been many attempts to silence some witnesses. His transfer at this stage raises many doubts. – Sister Anupama
Also, one of the nuns who had stood up in support of the survivor had alleged of receiving multiple expulsion threats. She said that she had received her first letter of warning in January this year, from the superior general. The nun who stood up in the survivor’s support had been demanding his arrest in the case. In February 2019, she received a second warning letter, threatening that she would be expelled from the congregation unless she changes her mind.
What is the case?
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese was accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 to 2016. He was arrested on the basis of his contradictory statements, circumstantial evidence and statements of witnesses. Mulakkal, who holds a doctorate in moral theology, is the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested in a rape case. The interrogation leading up to his arrest continued for three days and police sources said that Mulakkal denied all the allegations against him. He was arrested following contradictions in his statements, circumstantial evidence, statements of witnesses and the nun’s statement under Section 164 of the CrPC.