Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun, was sent to police custody till September 24 by a court in Kerala’s Pala city of Kottayam district on Saturday, ANI reported. The Kerala Police arrested the former Jalandhar diocese bishop on Friday night after questioning him for three days.
Police filed for three-day custody of Mulakkal. His lawyer said he did not oppose the custody but said his blood samples and saliva must not be taken without his permission, ANI reported. Mulakkal had also filed a bail application, but the court dismissed it.
Soon after his arrest, Mulakkal complained of chest pains and was admitted to the Kottayam Medical College and Hospital. He was under observation in the cardiology department. The hospital discharged him on Saturday morning.
In June, the police filed charges against Mulakkal after a nun in the Missionaries of Jesus congregation filed a complaint accusing him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 in Kottayam. The congregation is based in Punjab’s Jalandhar district but it runs two convents in Kerala – one in Kottayam and the other in Kannur. The alleged abuse took place in Kottayam.
Mulakkal has consistently denied the charges and accused the nun of taking revenge on him for ordering an inquiry into a complaint against her. He filed a complaint against the complainant and five other nuns, accusing them of framing him. The Kerala High Court has deferred hearing Mulakkal’s anticipatory bail plea to September 25.
The Missionaries of Jesus has said its internal investigation found Mulakkal to be innocent. The organisation has also accused the nun of being in a relationship with a taxi driver. The bishop claims that there are “several contradictions” in the evidence collected by the police.
A group of nuns has been protesting against the delay in police action against the bishop.