Bishop Franco Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016, has been sent to police custody till 24 September. His lawyer had filed for a bail application but it was dismissed by the court.

According to reports, a case was first registered after a group of nuns demanded his arrest. The Bishop was admitted to a government hospital as he complained of pain in his chest while being taken to Kottayam Police club from the Crime Branch office in Thrippunithura in Ernakulam district on Friday night, PTI reported. He was produced in a court today, following his discharge from the city hospital this morning.

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.

Reports also suggest that Mulakkal filed for an anticipatory bail in the high court on Tuesday, claiming that all charges against him were a “cooked-up story to wreak vengeance”.

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Last week, he had stepped down from his position, saying in a letter, “I am likely to be called for further clarifications by investigating officer in Kerala.”

The nun had earlier questioned the church officials’ irresponsible behaviour in dealing with the case. The Kottayam-based nun also alleged that because of his improper behaviour, at least 20 nuns were forced to leave the congregation. She also alleged that Bishop Mulakkal was using “political and money power” to “bury” the case against him. Various Catholic reform organisations have extended their support to the nun in this case.

Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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