Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy, was arrested on Friday night by the Kerala police over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun, Kottayam Superintendent of Police (SP) Hari Sankar confirmed.
The 54-year old Mulakkal was arrested by Kerala police after intense interrogation over the last three days. He would be produced in a magistrate court in Pala in Kottayam district tomorrow, said Inspector General of Police (Kochi Range) Vijay Sakhare.
Addressing the media, Sankar said, "On basis of the evidence collected so far and the interrogation that continued for three days, we arrested Bishop Franco at 8 pm today in regard to the petition filed against him. We are taking him for the medical examination. The subsequent investigation will continue and he'll be produced before a magistrate court tomorrow morning."
The Kottayam SP refused to disclose the evidences found against the Bishop, saying, "Evidences cannot be disclosed at this stage because the matter is under investigation and it has to go through a trial process, but the investigating officer has reached a reasonable conclusion that there is evidence in this case and we have decided to arrest him."
SP Sankar further stated the charges that Bishop Mulakkal has been found guilty of. They are rape and unnatural sexual intercourse, criminal intimidation and illegal confinement.
When asked if the investigation team will take action against those who came out in support of Bishop Mullakal, Sankar stated that separate cases have been registered in such matters, and are being investigated, adding that arrests will be made when the evidence is ample.
The development came a day after the Vatican relieved him "temporarily" of all pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to which the alleged victim also belongs.
The nun had accused the clergyman of repeatedly raping and having unnatural sex with her between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him.