Bail extended for Bishop Franco accused of raping a nun

Bishop Franco Mulakkal
Bishop Franco, accused for raping a nun, at St Alphonsa's tomb at Bharanaganam in Kottayam district.

Pala: A magistrate court in Pala has extended the bail period of Bishop Franco Mulakkal who is accused of raping a nun. It handed over the copies of the charge-sheet and related documents to the accused in the sensational case. The case will be considered again on June 7.

The bishop, who was summoned to Pala for the court proceedings, also paid a visit to St Alphonsa's tomb at Bharanaganam in Kottayam district and offered prayers. The bishop had reached Kottayam along with family and friends. He placed a diary, which contained the statements, on the tomb while offering prayers.

The probe team headed by Vaikom DySp K Subhash had submitted the charge-sheet in the case. The 1400-page charge sheet filed against the bishop by Kerala Police last month include the charges of rape, unnatural sex and keeping forced custody. The statements of 83 witnesses, including that of Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, were also submitted in court. Apart from the Cardinal, 4 bishops, 11 priests, 25 nuns and seven magistrates are main witnesses in the case. Five pieces of evidence, including a laptop, mobile phone and visitors’ book, were also submitted.

Once the proceedings at the Pala court are completed, the case would be transferred to the Kottayam district court for trial.

The nun of a convent at Kuruvalingad in Kottayam had filed a complaint of sexual abuse against the bishop on June 26, 2018. The abuse allegedly took place from 2014 to 2016. After a four-month-long investigation, Bishop Franco was arrested. He was released on bail after 25 days in prison.

Franco is based at the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

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