The Kerala High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun as many as 13 times.
The senior Catholic priest is facing allegations of raping the nun repeatedly between 2014 and 2016 and was arrested in Tripunithura on September 21 after three days of questioning. The clergyman has denied the charges of sexual misconduct.
On September 22, Mulakkal was sent to police custody, after being produced before the Pala Judicial Magistrate Court in Kerala’s Kottayam. Later on September 24, he was sent to judicial custody till October 6 by the same court.
The sister of alleged victim filed a report with state police and claimed that she and her family are receiving life threats and thus require protection for life and property.
Mulakkal, who was in-charge of the Jalandhar diocese, was temporarily relieved of his pastoral duties by Pope Francis, after he expressing his desire to ‘temporarily step aside’ from the responsibilities of the diocese, allowing him time to fight his case.
A delegation of 15 nuns from Jalandhar’s Missionaries of Jesus had met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Delhi over the Bishop’s arrest. After the meeting, Sister Amala of the Missionaries of Jesus had claimed that Mulakkal was falsely framed in the case and the investigation was biased.
On the other hand, a number of priests and nuns have been protesting against the Bishop in Kerala. Soon after the case surfaced, activists had staged a protest outside the Kerala Secretariat in Trivandrum, demanding his arrest.
The accused had filed an anticipatory bail in the Kerala High Court last month, which was later deferred.