Franco Mulakkal moves Kerala high court to quash rape case against him
The state government opposed his plea, saying there is strong evidence against him and that he was filing unnecessary petitions to delay the trial.Updated: Jun 16, 2020, 20:33 IST
Franco Mulakkal, deposed bishop of Jalandhar who is facing a rape case, on Tuesday moved the Kerala high court with a plea to quash the case against him by a nun, saying he was implicated after he questioned her financial dealings.
In March, the trial court in Kottayam had dismissed his discharge plea and directed him to face the trial. In a fresh plea in the HC, he said all charges against him were cooked up due to some personal grudges and differences and sought the case be quashed immediately.
The state government opposed his plea, saying there is strong evidence against him and that he was filing unnecessary petitions to delay the trial.
On June 10, when the trial court in Kottayam took up the case - after a gap due to lockdown - it expressed serious reservation over the bishop’s absence and asked him to appear before it on July 1.
The counsel for the bishop had informed the court that he was not able to travel as there were no domestic flights from Jalandhar and he will have to undergo 14-day quarantine as per the government guidelines. The court, however, asked him to make necessary arrangements and appear before it on July 1.
The case surfaced two years ago when a 43-year-old nun, also a mother superior, 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. Mulakkal denied the charges, saying he was implicated after he took action against the nun for financial irregularities in the convent.
Later, a special investigation team arrested him in September 2018. After 40 days in prison, he was granted bail. Soon after, he was removed from the post of bishop. The SIT had filed the charge sheet against him last year. There were allegations that the accused tried to delay the trial. The petitioner had also complained that some of the witnesses were threatened by the followers of Mulakkal.