Kerala nun rape case: Accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal arrives for questioning at Crime Branch office

Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been asked to appear before Kerala Police for questioning in connection with the case.

Kerala nun rape case: Accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal arrives for questioning at Crime Branch office
Image Courtesy: ANI

KOCHI: Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun, arrived at the Kerala Crime Branch office here on Wednesday for questioning in connection with the case.

The accused bishop, who last week step aside from his post in the wake of rape allegations against him, will appear before Vaikom Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subhash for questioning in connection with the case.

A five-member team led by Vaikom Dy SP K Subhash will interrogate the bishop at the Crime Branch office here.

The security has been tightened at the Crime Branch (CID) office ahead of the bishop's questioning in connection with the alleged rape case.

Kottayam SP Harisankar is also expected to join the Vaikom Dy SP K Subhash and Kochi Range IG Vijay Sakhare during the bishop's questioning at the Crime Branch (CID) office.  

The Punjab Police had last week served a notice to the bishop asking him to depose before the Kerala Police for questioning.
 
The Kerala Police has, meanwhile, asserted that scientific and technical errors still exist in the case and there are differences in the statements of witnesses.

"There are lots of contradictions in the case on the part of everyone - the complainant, the accused and the witnesses. This is an old case and is based primarily on oral statements. It is very difficult to gather scientific and technical evidence. We have to ensure that contradictions are ironed out suitably. As part of that process, Bishop Franco has been summoned to appear before the investigating officer on September 19 and notice for the same has already been sent," Inspector General Vijay Sakhare had told reporters. 

Sakhare also informed that they have tightened the security of the nun after she complained of receiving death threats.

Reacting to the same, the public relations officer for the Jalandhar diocese, Father Peter K, said, "I have heard of the notice but haven't seen it yet. If they call the Bishop on September 19, we will surely cooperate and he will go to Kochi as required".

Father Peter also alleged that the ongoing protest against the Bishop was "a politically-motivated anti-Christian movement"

Amid fast-paced developments in the case, the National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma also spoke to Kerala's Director General of Police to get details of the investigation in the case.

NCW chairperson took to Twitter to share the developments and wrote, "Spoke to Shri Behera, DGP Kerala, this afternoon. He has assured me that Kerala Police will conduct a fair investigation and take strict action against Bishop Franco Mulakkal".

The Kerala Director General of Police also informed the NCW Chairperson that the investigation report will be filed in court on Thursday.

Kerala minister and CPI (M) leader EP Jayarajan also briefed media about the nun rape case and assured that the government is with the victim.

"Nuns protesting is a sad thing and the government is with the victim. They need not be concerned. We will take the right decision at the right time. Police will book culprits with the support of evidence. The investigation is on the right path. No one should try to outrage the modesty of a woman," he told reporters here.

A nun from Kerala had accused the 54-year-old priest of raping her on several occasions between 2014 and 2016. 

However, the Jalandhar Bishop had refuted all allegations against him and accused the 'anti-church elements' of falsely implicating him in the case. 

(With Agency inputs)

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