A team of Kerala Police personnel, who arrived in Punjab’s Jalandhar city on Friday, questioned Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal on Monday to investigate allegations of rape levelled against him by a nun, The Indian Express reported.
The team, headed by Vaikom Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subhash, arrived at the Bishop House in Jalandhar at 3.15 pm but Mulakkal was not present. The bishop arrived around 7.40 pm, reportedly in a motorcade of 10 vehicles, and accompanied by private security guards. The police said they began questioning him around 8 pm.
A few journalists alleged that they were assaulted and their cameras were broken by the bishop’s private security guards when they tried to speak to him.
Mulakkal’s counsel Mandeep Singh denied reports that his client had sought anticipatory bail. “We have not got any written notice about his questioning or arrest, and until then, there is no need of seeking anticipatory bail,” Singh said, adding that there was “enough proof” to establish that the “allegations against the bishop are false”.
The Kerala Police have already questioned two priests, one of whom is the public relations officer of the Jalandhar Diocese, reported The New Indian Express. The team has also recorded the statements of a few nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus.
When asked about the possibility of an arrest, Kottayam Superintendent of Police Hari Sankar said the investigation was a planned activity. “We cannot rush into making certain moves during the course of it,” The News Minute quoted him as saying on Sunday.
On June 27, a nun filed a police complaint accusing Mulakkal of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 in a town in Kerala. She said she had no choice but to go to the police after church authorities ignored her complaints and took no action against the bishop. Mulakkal has denied the charges and accused the nun of taking revenge on him for ordering an inquiry into a complaint against her.
The bishop filed a complaint against the complainant and five other nuns, accusing them of framing him. In June, the police filed charges against Mulakkal.