By SM.13 Jul, 2020
KOTTAYAM: Rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal"s bail has been canceled by Kottayam Additional District Court and a no-bail arrest warrant has been issued against him. The Bishop was not present for the hearing today; his counsel stated that be had to go into quarantine as one of his lawyers had tested coronavirus positive.
However, on July 1 also, the Bishop had skipped the hearing, with his counsel telling the court that he was stuck in a containment zone.
However, the Public Prosecutor today argued that the Bishop"s house and the area around it in Punjab was not listed as containment zone and that his no-show is a deliberate attempt to prolong the case.
The court, admitting the argument of the prosecution, cancelled the bail.
Mulakkal, who was arrested over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting the nun, was granted bail in 2018.
The charges were leveled by a nun who accused him of sexual assault on the night of May 5, 2014. She said she was raped multiple times thereafter till September 23, 2016. The bishop had been charged with rape, wrongful confinement, unnatural offence and criminal intimidation.
The nun said she had to approach the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints.
The victim and other nuns living in the same hostel had earlier repeatedly complained of intimidation and pressure from church authorities. They claimed the church was trying to separate them from the victim.
Earlier, huge protests had broken out in Kerala demanding the arrest of the clergyman. Four nuns had also joined the protests to show solidarity with survivor.
A nun had also been dismissed months after she had appeared in a protest. She was accused of violating church rules like appearing on television and social media, buying a car, making monitory transactions by publishing a book and violating dress code.
Franco Mulakkal had denied the charges as "baseless and concocted".
He had stepped aside as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese following the allegations.
In March this year, the court had dismissed a case discharge petition filed by the Bishop.