Rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal applied for bail for the second time on Wednesday, reports said. Mulakkal, who was arrested for raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016, had previously sought bail on 3 October, which was rejected by a magistrate court.
According to India Today, Mulakkal's legal team has claimed that the reasons for him being denied bail the first time are no longer applicable. The former bishop's bail plea says that since he is not in a position of power any longer, he is not in a position to intimidate witnesses like the prosecution had claimed before.
The plea also asked for bail on the grounds that the witnesses in the case have been given full police protection, and that his visit to a hospital following the arrest were signs of deteriorating health, The News Minute reported.
On 3 October, the Kerala High Court had denied Mulakkal's bail plea as Justice V Raja Vijayaraghavan observed that there was evidence against him.
According to reports, the Kerala Police had said that since more complaints were being submitted, giving bail to the accused would hamper the investigation.
On 24 September, the Pala Judicial Magistrate Court in Kottayam had remanded Mulakkal to judicial custody till 6 October. He has been lodged in the Pala sub-jail.
On 22 September, the police submitted a remand report to the court saying that Mulakkal had gone to the convent with the intention of sexually assaulting the nun and in May 2014. He illegally confined her in Room 20 of the guest house and "subjected her to unnatural sexual assault".
The police also said that the accused threatened the nun with dire consequences if she ever revealed the incident. "Between 2014 and 2016, the victim was subjected to rape and unnatural sex 13 times in the same room," the remand report stated.
Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested on 21 September in Tripunithura after three days of questioning in the case.