Kerala Bishop denies rape allegations; questioned for 7 hours on day two
The senior priest has denied the rape allegations and assured full co-operation in the probe
A Catholic priest of Jalandhar diocese, Bishop Franco Mulakkal who had allegedly raped a Kerala nun, appeared before a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Kerala police for the second day on Thursday. The senior priest arrived at the Crime Branch (CID) office in Thrippunithura, Kerala and is being quizzed by a five-member team headed by Vaikom Deputy Superintendent of Police, K Subhash, over the nun's allegations.
The senior priest has denied the rape allegations and assured full co-operation in the probe. On Wednesday, the Bishop, who had traveled from Jalandhar to Kochi after being summoned by Kerala police, was questioned for seven hours.
Bishop Mulakkal had filed for an anticipatory bail in Kerala High Court on Tuesday, which was deferred by the court to September 25. He also wrote to Pope Francis, the highest authority in the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, expressing his desire to 'temporarily step aside' from the responsibilities of the diocese, allowing him time to fight his case and repeated travels to Kerala, where the case is lodged.
Several priests and nuns have been protesting against the Bishop in Kerala. On Thursday, activists staged a protest outside the Kerala Secretariat in Trivandrum, demanding that the prelate is arrested. The alleged victim nun wrote to Apostolic Nuncio, the representative of the Pope in India, demanding justice in the matter, following which the Vatican formed a one-member panel to probe the rape allegations against the priest.
The nun has accused the priest of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The Bishop, however, refuted the allegations, terming them "baseless and concocted".
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