Franco Mulakkal will approach the Kerala High Court for relief after a sessions court in Kerala dismissed a discharge petition filed by him in the rape case against a nun on Monday. In January this year, Mulakkal who has been out on bail since October 2018 had filed a discharge petition claiming that the rape case was a vendetta against him and is baseless.
Even before the trial against him began, on January 25, 2020, Franco Mulakkal had filed a petition in the Additional District and Sessions Court alleging character assassination and vengeance as the basis for the rape case and sought to be discharged from the case. He had also claimed that there was no prima facie case against him.
After hearing both sides, Judge G Gopakumar had on Monday dismissed the petition by Mulakkal and instructed him to face trial and also upheld all charges against him in the charge sheet. After a lengthy investigation by the Kuravilangad police, a 1400-page charge sheet was filed against the former head of the Diocese of Jalandhar who faces multiple charges including rape, forceful confinement, criminal intimidation and forcible unnatural sex amongst others.
A day after the discharge petition was dismissed by the sessions court, the legal team of Franco Mulakkal confirmed to Republic TV that they will approach the High Court with a similar petition and insisted that they had several witnesses supporting their claim that the accusation of rape on multiple occasions between 2014-16 by a nun belonging to the same diocese was motivated and fabricated.
Meanwhile, the prosecution displayed confidence saying they believe the petition was nothing but delaying tactics by Franco Mulakkal to evade facing trial and that they were hopeful that the petition for discharge from the case will be turned down by the High Court too.
In June 2018, a nun filed a police complaint accusing the influential Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her multiple times between 2014-16 and had also alleged that over years, several attempts had been made by Mulakkal and members of the clergy to force her into silence. The complainant claimed that after not receiving justice despite several complaints to her superiors with the Church, she was forced to file a police complaint.
(Image credits: PTI)