Bail extended for rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal as he appears before Kerala court

May 10, 2019

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun thirteen times between 2014 to 2016, appeared before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Pala in Kottayam on Friday. This appearance marks the beginning of the trial against him in the Kerala nun’s rape case.

A copy of the chargesheet, which runs over 2,000 pages, and related documents were handed over to him after the court proceedings began. The court also heard his plea seeking an extension of his bail and has agreed to extend his bail. The matter has been posted for further hearing on June 7.

A powerful bishop of the diocese, who has received the support from a section of people of the Church, Franco attempted a show of strength as he was accompanied by at least 10 priests and a group of women when he arrived at around 10.20 am.

The former head of the Latin diocese of Jalandhar appeared before the court following a summons issued by the court in the Kerala nun rape case. His appearance comes a month after the Special Investigation Team in the case, headed by Kottayam SP Harisankar, filed the chargesheet in the case on April 9. The chargesheet contained statements and testimonies from 84 eyewitnesses, including Archbishop of Ernakulam, Angamaly diocese of the Syro Malabar Church George Alencherry, Bishop Joseph Kallarangat of Pala diocese, Bhagalpur Bishop Kurian Valiyakandathil, Bishop Sebastian Vadakkel of the diocese of Ujjain. Three bishops, 11 priests and 24 nuns have been quoted in the chargesheet.

Before coming to court, Bishop Franco led prayers at St Alphonsa Pilgrim centre, located at Bharanganam near Pala, and also presented a dairy at the tomb of St Alphonsa. The dairy, according to reports, contained the details he was to present before the court.

The trial in the case will be held at the Principal Sessions Court Kottayam and Franco Mulakkal is likely to be issued another summons to appear before the trial court in Kottayam.

A nun of the Kurivilangad Convent of the Missionaries of Jesus has alleged that Franco raped her thirteen times between 2014 and 2016. Franco has been charged under IPC Sections 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement), 376 (2)(k) (being in a position of control or dominance over a woman, commits rape on such woman), 376 (C) (I) (Sexual intercourse by a person in authority) and 377/506 (1) (Carnal Intercourse against the order of nature with the victim without consent and criminally intimidated the victim by extending threats).

Franco was arrested on September 21, 2018, but was released on bail 25 days later. He was granted bail on the condition that he should surrender his passport to the court and that he should not enter Kerala.

‘Don’t make us protest again’: Nuns seek chargesheet against Bishop Franco after delays

Sources : The News Minute

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