Kerala HC rejects ex-bishop Mulakkal’s plea to stay trial in rape caseUpdated: Jul 07, 2020 18:06 IST
Thiruvananthapuram The Kerala High Court on Tuesday rejected former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal’s plea to quash the rape case against him and directed him to face the trial. In March, the trial court in Kottayam had dismissed his discharge plea and he later moved the high court.
While hearing his plea, the prosecution contended that there was strong evidence against him and he was moving petitions frequently to delay the trial. Later, justice V Shircy rejected his plea and directed him to stand trial in the case.
Last month, the trial court had asked him to appear before it on July 1 but he failed, saying his house was in a containment zone in Jalandhar so he could not move out. Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who staged a sit-in in Kochi seeking the bishop’s arrest, said she is happy with the latest development, adding she has full faith in the judicial system of the country.
The case surfaced two years ago after a 43-year-old nun had complained to the police in Kottayam in central Kerala that Mulakkal had raped her several times between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab. But Mulakkal denied it saying he was implicated after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.
Later a special investigation team was formed and it arrested him in September 2018. After spending 40 days in jail, he was granted bail. He was removed from the post of the bishop later.
The SIT had filed the charge sheet against him last year. There were many allegations that the accused took different tactics to delay the trial. The petitioner had also complained that some of the witnesses were threatened by the followers of Mulakkal. A special court is hearing the case in Kottayam. His counsel said he will move the Supreme Court soon.