The Supreme Court will hear on August 5 a petition of former Archbishop of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal claiming his innocence and seeking discharge from the Kerala nun rape case. A bench headed by Justice AS Bopanna will hear Mulakkal's plea seeking for rape charges against him to be dropped.
Mulakkal had filed the plea in the apex court on July 25 claiming that the accusations against him were raised seeking personal revenge and alleged discrepancies in the nun's statements. He approached the Supreme court after the Kerala High Court rejected his plea for discharge from the case.
Previously on July 7, the Kerala High Court dismissed Mulakkal's plea seeking to quash the charge of sexually assaulting a nun. He had repeated his claims of 'lack of evidence' and 'contradictions in the nun's statements'. The prosecution in the Kerala HC had contended that there was strong evidence against the former Bishop and he was moving pleas frequently to delay the trial.
Subsequently, a Kottayam district court dismissed his bail plea after he failed to appear in court and issued a non-bailable warrant against him and directed him to appear before the court.
Franco Mulakkal, former head of the Latin Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, has been accused of raping and forcing unnatural sex on the nun several times between 2014 and 2016. As the complainant came forward, nuns of the congregation came out in support for the victim, demanding CM Pinarayi Vijayan's intervention.
After several rounds of questioning, the special investigation team (SIT) of Kerala Police arrested him in September 2018. The SIT had filed the charge sheet against him last year. After being arrested by the Kerala police, Mulakkal was later released by the Kerala High Court on an unconditional bail in October last year. Republic TV has unearthed numerous key inputs against Mulakkal as part of its investigation into the case.
(With inputs from agency)