Kerala nun rape case: Ex-bishop Franco Mulakkal in court as trial begins

Trial in the case has begun after courts dismissed pleas by former bishop Mulakkal for discharge from the case.
Rape accused Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal appeared in court on the day when trial began.(PTI Photo)
Rape accused Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal appeared in court on the day when trial began.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Sep 17, 2020 11:40 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram | ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

The trial in the Kerala nun sexual assault case began at the additional district sessions court in Kottayam on Wednesday even as the court restrained the media from publishing any matter relating to the in-camera proceedings.

The lone accused in the case, former bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, appeared before the court. The court has barred media coverage after Mulakkal moved an application. The order was passed after Mulakkal said the prosecution had leaked to the media a statement given by one of the main witnesses earlier.

Last month, the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea filed by Mulakkal seeking discharge from the case. Earlier, the trial court and high court had also rejected his plea observing that there was prima facie evidence to put the case to the trail.

The assault case surfaced in 2018 after a 43-year-old nun complained to the police in Kottayam that Mulakkal had raped her several times between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the missionaries of Jesus congregation of Roman Catholic Church based in Punjab. But Mulakkal denied it saying he was implicated after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.

Also Read: Kerala court frames charges against rape-accused ex-Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Later, a special investigation team was constituted which arrested Mulakkal in September 2018. After spending 40 days in jail, he was granted bail. He was also removed from the post of the bishop later. There were many attempts to delay the trail.

Also Read: ‘I am being starved by the church’, says expelled Kerala nun

The special investigation team had filed the charge sheet against Mulakkal last year but he failed to appear before the court several times. Later, the trial court issued an arrest warrant against him. But his bail was not cancelled after he gave an assurance that he will be present throughout the hearing.

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