Update at 10:45 PM: Catholic Bishops Commission of India have condemned the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the Kerala nun rape case, stating it is a 'sad moment'.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been arrested 87 days after a rape complaint was filed against him. The Bishop has been arrested following 3 days of grilling by the investigative agencies, in Kochi, Kerala. Bishop Franco will now be taken to Taluk hospital at Kottayam for his medical examination and then he will be produced at magistrate house to seek custody. Initial reports suggest that the police will seek 7 days custody of the Bishop.
Earlier in the day, the probe team recorded aggrieved nun’s second statement. A team led by Vakathanam CI reached the convent at Kuravilangad on Friday and recorded the nun’s statement. The probe team recorded her statement again after they team observed that they need to seek further clarifications in some matters following the interrogation of the former Jalandhar Bishop.
The arrest comes after sources told Republic TV that the Bishop remained vague during his three days questioning and denied all the charges against him . The Police demanded brief answers from the bishop for every question, however, he stated that he could not recollect his exact whereabouts.
The Bishop has been constant in his denial to the rape victim nun's allegations, who accused her of rape between 2014 and 2016. He had even filed an anticipatory bail in the Kerala High Court, which was deferred to September 25.
Prior to this, on Thursday, Pope Francis of Vatican had relieved the Bishop of his duties in Diocese of Jalandhar. This came after the Bishop wrote a letter expressing his intention to temporarily step aside from his duties.
However, even at the last leg of the Bishop's grilling, his supports continued with the slander campaign against the rape survivor nun. Kerala MLA PC George after comparing the nun to a 'prostitute', claimed on Friday that the 'investigation team is trying to frame Bishop Franco Mulakkal'. While shaming the victim, PC George said:
"Six photos of Bishop Franco and the victim were circulated where they are laughing and giggling in the picture. If a rape incident has happened, will they be laughing and giggling? Everyone had a doubt regarding the date of the photo album, thus cd's of the event were asked to be produced. I am ready to give this photo and the cd to any police investigating this case."
This came even as Kerala police registered a case against Missionaries of Jesus for releasing the picture of the victim, in their bid to shame her.