The Kerala High Court on Tuesday rejected a petition by deposed bishop Franco Mulakkal seeking to discharge him from a case pertaining to the rape of a nun in 2018. The court directed Mulakkal, who belonged to the Jalandhar diocese, to face trial.

Justice V Shircy dismissed Mulakkal’s petition, saying that the prosecution had shown that prima facie there was evidence against him in the case. The accused was trying to delay the trial proceedings, the prosecution submitted, according to ANI.

The state government also told the court that there is enough evidence to continue the case against him.

In his plea filed before the High Court, Mulakkal claimed that he was implicated in the case after he questioned the financial dealings of the complainant. A trial court had dismissed his discharge plea in March. Mulakkal had filed the discharge plea in the trial court just before the commencement of the preliminary hearing on charges against him.

The police had filed a case against Mulakkal in June 2018 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. Though the congregation is based in Punjab’s Jalandhar district, it runs two convents in Kerala – in Kottayam and Kannur.

Mulakkal, who was arrested in September 2018, has repeatedly denied the charges and accused the nun of taking revenge on him for ordering an inquiry into a complaint against her. He was removed from his post after the allegations.

Earlier in February, another nun who is a witness in the rape trial against Mulakkal accused him of hugging and forcibly kissing her on the forehead in April 2017. In her statement, which is part of a chargesheet filed by the Kerala Police last year, the nun alleged that the incident took place in Mulakkal’s room at a convent at the end of a two-hour conversation. The police had filed the chargesheet in April 2019.