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Kerala police quiz bishop for nine hours in nun rape case, seize mobile, laptop

Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar’s bishop Franco Mulakkal was booked in Kerala’s Kottayam on June 29 for sexually abusing a nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2018 22:20 IST
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Kerala police,bishop,nun rape case
Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar’s bishop Franco Mulakkal was questioned from 7.45 pm on Monday to 4.50 am on Tuesday.(AFP)

The six-member Kerala police team investigating a nun’s complaint of sexual assault against Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar’s bishop Franco Mulakkal questioned him for around nine hours at the latter’s house in Jalandhar on Tuesday.

While a team led by Vaikom deputy superintendent of police K Subhash reached the bishop’s house at 3:15 pm on Monday, Mulakkal was not there and only returned there at 7:45 pm. The police team then recorded his statement and questioned him for around nine hours, leaving the premises at 4:50 am on Tuesday.

They also seized his personal laptop, mobile phone and a register that keeps record of all letters received and sent.

“We have questioned the Bishop and he cooperated with us. The investigation is going on and no arrest has been made so far,” said Subhash. He said that if needed, they would visit the city again. The team will return after some more investigations in Amritsar.

Meanwhile, Church officials also handed over some written statements of nuns that are in favour of the bishop.

On the delay, Father Micheal Ani said that the Kerala police team did not give any prior intimation to the Bishop to join the investigation. “They questioned other staff members in the church on Monday afternoon and when they asked the bishop to join the investigation, he immediately returned to bishop’s house,” he told the media.

The bishop’s counsel, Mandeep Sachdev said that no anticipatory bail has been applied by his client.

The police team has been in the city for the past four days.

Statements of five nuns and two fathers have been recorded so far. The four nuns questioned on Saturday were at the Missionaries of Jesus Congregation in Jalandhar, where the complainant was posted as mother general till 2013.

The Punjab-based Congregation runs two convents in Kerala and she was working at one of the convents at Kuravilanagad in Kottayam. Mulakkal, 54, was booked in Kottayam on June 29 for sexually abusing the 43-year-old nun 13 times, including in Jalandhar, between 2014 and 2016.

He has always dismissed the charges, saying the nun was targeting him for starting a probe against her for her involvement in an illicit relationship.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 22:20 IST