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Bishop Franco arrested in nun rape case, to be produced before Kerala court today

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a nun between 2014 and 2016.

SNS | Kottayam |

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested on Friday in connection with the rape of a nun, will be produced in a Kerala court on Saturday, police said.

Mulakkal was accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a nun between 2014 and 2016. Several nuns have been protesting in Kochi for the past 14 days demanding his arrest.

The bishop, who belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar, Punjab, was questioned for seven hours each on two days starting Wednesday near Kochi at a Crime Branch office.

He was to be produced in a Kottayam court on Friday. However, on the way, he developed chest pains and had to be admitted to a hospital barely 10 km away from Kottayam.

After spending the night in the Cardiology Department of the state-run Kottayam Medical College hospital, the doctors decided to discharge him on Saturday.

As he stepped out, the public jeered at him. Mulakkal would be kept at the Kottayam Police Club till the time he was produced, the police said.

Read | Hours after arrest, Bishop Franco complains of chest pain, hospitalised

This is the first time in the country that a bishop has been arrested for rape and the police have charged him for illegal confinement, rape, unnatural sex, and criminal intimidation.

The action came after a nun complained that she was raped several times between 2014-16. The crime had occurred at a convent in Kottayam district.

The police probe team has till 8 pm to produce the bishop.

Mulakkal’s counsel would be moving a bail plea, while the police would seek his custody for three days.

The five nuns who took to the streets in Kochi in an indefinite protest demanding the bishop’s arrest, on Saturday told the media the protest would be called off.

“This protest would not have taken place, had our church authorities taken our complaints seriously.

“We never did this for our benefit, instead we wanted to ensure that there would never be another bishop like Mulakkal who would turn a tormentor,” said a nun before leaving to the protest venue.

The Kerala High Court will be hearing the bishop’s anticipatory bail plea on September 25.