Kottayam: A court in Kottayam in Kerala on Friday acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal of charges of raping a nun.
The Additional District and Sessions Court (II) acquitted Bishop after the prosecution had failed to produce evidence against him.
In her complaint to the police in June 2018, a nun from Kerala had alleged that Mulakkal raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. He was then Bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.
The police of Kottayam district had registered a case of rape against Bishop in June 2018.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested by the Special Investigation Team probing the case on September 21, 2018 and he got conditional bail from the court on October 15 of the same year. After being released on bail, he was welcomed with flowers and garlands in Jalandhar.
The nun had accused him of wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation. The hearing in the case began in November 2019, which was completed on January 10.
Apart from this, the court had prohibited the print and electronic media from broadcasting any material related to the trial without its permission.
According to the Indian Express, the former SP and investigating officer of Kottayam, S. Harishankar told reporters, “It is an extremely unfortunate decision, it is shocking to us. We expected full punishment. We will appeal. We had strong evidence. All the witnesses in the case were ordinary people.
Tight security arrangements were made outside the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court on Friday morning ahead of the pronouncement of the verdict in this high-profile case. The case assumes significance as it is the first time a Catholic bishop was arrested and booked on charges of rape and sexual assault in India.
Bishop Mulakkal had approached the High Court and the Supreme Court to quash the charges against him, but the courts refused to entertain the petition.
Denying the allegations of rape, Bishop had claimed that the allegations were “fabricated” and that the action against him was taken in retaliation for a complaint made by a woman.
It is known that Bishop Franco Mulakkal, facing the rape of a nun, was accused of sexual abuse by another nun in February 2020.
The 35-year-old nun was a witness to the ongoing rape case against Franco Mulakkal, who recorded her statement before the police alleging that the bishop had made sexual and obscene remarks on her over the phone and touched her inappropriately .
The nun said in her statement that she was afraid of the bishop that she might be thrown out of the group, so she was silent till now.
(with input from news agency language)
read this also…
Categories: India, Special