Update at 2:22 pm: Kerala High Court adjourns the bail plea matter to 25th September
Few hours after rape-accused Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal filed an anticipatory bail application in Kerala High Court, Police sources have revealed the details of August questioning of the accused Bishop. The Police sources have told Republic TV that over 15 contradictions were made by Bishop Franco in his earlier statement to police. The main and glaring of them are:
Father Franco Mulackal is not new in controversy. When he was Father in Trinity College near Church Nagar in Jalandhar, he was also roped in the investigation of Father Mark Barnes death which took place in Amritsar in 2005. Anne Wakeling, the sister of the deceased father, filed a case in Punjab and Haryana High Court against 12 people including the then Franco Trinity college. It was a case of vandalism of Father body Amritsar. A case was registered under section 295/295-A/297 IPC civil lines amritsar. However, the then father Franco Mulackal had also filed a petition in the court against father sister in the high court.
Earlier on Tuesday, the counsel of Bishop Mulakkal has confirmed to Republic TV that the plea will be filed between 11 am and 1 pm on Tuesday. In the anticipatory bail plea, the Bishop is likely to state that he is ready to inform that he is ready to cooperate with the probe but that the investigating team must refrain from arresting him.
Bishop Mulakkal's counsel is also likely to file supporting documents over his claim that there is no rape involved in this case. On Monday, the Bishop had written to the Vatican seeking Pope Francis' permission to step aside from his duties, which he had done earlier in any case in another letter.
On September 11, the victim, against whom there has been a slander campaign in which church group Missionaries of Jesus has also been pulled up for posting her photo and revealing her identity, had also written to the Vatican seeking justice. In her seven-page letter, she spoke about the "sexual exploitation that she suffered from Bishop Franco from 2014 to 2016". The complainant's sister has also embarked on a hunger strike till the Bishop is arrested.
The Kerala police has thus far submitted two affidavits in the case. In the first affidavit, which was filed on August 13, the investigation officer had concluded based on his probe that the victim nun had been raped repeatedly.
"During the investigation conducted so far and available evidence collected, it is revealed that the accused bishop committed unnatural offence and commitment rape repeatedly on different dates from 05/05/2018 to 23/09/2016 (name not to be revealed) against the will and consent of her by abusing the dominance over her as bishop of Jalandhar after confining her in the guest room of St Francis mission home'"