In a new turn of events in the Kerala nun alleged rape case, the inquiry commission of the Missionaries of Jesus in it findings refuted that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal raped her and alleged conspiracy by the nun against the Bishop.
The inquiry commission said ten people -- the victim, five nuns and four other people -- conspired against the Bishop. A friend of the victim was handling the register that keeps track of the visitors and they must have tampered with it, it alleged. It also said the victim took control of CCTV from the Mother Superior.
In its findings, the commission said the Bishop didn't stay in Kuravilangad convent on May 5, 2014, as claimed by the nun in the complaint. It also said that in a picture of May 23, 2015, the nun was seen at a function with the Bishop and so it all point out that there was no rape.
The commission saïd, "Victim along with five other nuns and four others conspired against the Jalandhar Bishop. Victim's friend was handling visitors' register, they must have tampered with it. The victim took control of CCTV from Mother Superior. The Bishop didn't stay in Kuravilangad convent on May 5, 2014, as claimed in rape complaint by the nun. On May 23, 2015, they can be seen at a function with the Bishop in a photo. All this points that there was no rape."
Earlier on Thursday, the Kerala High Court had said the "arrest is not the issue", in a relief to the Bishop.
Expressing satisfaction in the ongoing probe, the court observed that since it was an old case, the probe and the investigation will take time and "not the arrest but final punishment of the accused is more important".
Apart from hearing two petitions on the case, it also heard a third petition seeking a Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) probe into it and said that at present that would not be granted and posted the matter for next hearing on September 24.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar has been served a notice to appear before the probe team on September 19. The nuns supporting the victim expressed their disappointment with the court`s observation.
"We now feel that the probe might be swept under the carpet. Even the court is also denying us justice," said a nun after hearing the court`s observations on Thursday.
A Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy after going through the affidavit of the Kerala Police probe team said that it was not proper to put pressure on the police as it could create hindrance to a free probe.
A Kerala nun has accused Mulakkal of repeatedly sexually abusing her between 2014 and 2016. There are five other nuns of the same congregation who has supported her claim.
On Thursday, Kottayam Superintendent of Police Harishankar who is leading the probe told the media that variations and contradictions have been found in the statements that have been taken from several people connected with the case.
"I would not say that this has been done on purpose. However, taking into account that the case is four years old, it might be difficult to recall things correctly.
"There are discrepancies in documents and facts that have now come up and hence we have expanded the probe team," said Harishankar.
An FIR was registered against the bishop and a 114-page detailed statement was taken from the nun and other inmates of the convent. However, Mulakkal has denied any wrongdoing and termed it a conspiracy hatched against him.