Rape-Accused Bishop to be Questioned Shortly, Number of Contradictions Could Decide Arrest

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy, has been accused of repeatedly raping and having unnatural sex with a nun between 2014 and 2016.

Kochi: Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, will appear before a Special Investigation Team of Kerala police for questioning on Wednesday, 84 days after an FIR was registered against him.

According to sources, the clergyman could be taken into custody if the police can collect all evidence during the interrogation. Cops said there is no impediment in making the arrest as the Kerala High Court has not passed an order preventing his arrest.

Mulakkal had filed for an anticipatory bail in the high court on Tuesday, claiming that all charges against him were a “cooked up story to wreak vengeance". The HC had adjourned the hearing of the application for September 25 when it will hear the police version.

According to sources, the number of contradictions in the Jalandhar Bishop’s answers during questioning could decide if he is arrested or not. The SIT has prepared over 100 questions to grill him and if there are over 10 contradictions, an arrest would be imminent.

Claiming innocence, the bishop has said that the nun’s complaint was "nothing but a fictional story".

"The complaint is an afterthought and a vicious programme to bring down the applicant who is holding a very high post in the congregation," his anticipatory bail plea said.

It said the bishop is "absolutely innocent" and has been "falsely implicated" in the case with an "ulterior motive and vexatious intention".

The plea alleged that the nun and her family members had warned Mulakkal of dire consequences if he continued to take adverse action against her. There were threats that he will be manhandled if he sets his foot in Kerala, the petition alleged.

The nun has accused the senior catholic priest of sexually assaulting her repeatedly between 2014 and 2016. He had Saturday handed over the administrative charge of the Jalandhar diocese to a senior priest.