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

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested on Friday over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun.

SNS | Kottayam |

Hours after arrest by the police over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun, Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been admitted to a government hospital in Kerala’s Kottayam district after he complained of chest pain, official sources said Friday night.

Mulakkal complained of chest pain when he was being taken to Kottayam Police club from the Crime Branch office in Thrippunithura in Ernakulam district Friday night, they said.

The vehicle carrying the Bishop was directed to the Medical College Hospital when it reached Ettumanoor at around 11 pm after the Bishop complained of chest pain, sources said.

He is under the observation in the cardiology section of the college after his blood pressure shot up, they said.

Sources said his ECG and other cardiac-related tests are being performed at the hospital.

Earlier, Mulakkal’s medical check-up was done at the Government Taluk Hospital in Thrippunithura Friday night, immediately after his arrest.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was on Friday arrested in Kochi after three consecutive days of interrogation by the state police.

Mulakkal has been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing the nun between 2014 and 2016. 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.

Mulakkal was temporarily relieved of his pastoral responsibilities by Pope Francis, the Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI) said on Thursday, a decision which was hailed by a group of protesting nuns.

The Pope took the decision in response to Mulakkal’s September 16 letter offering to “step aside temporarily” as the Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council Spokesman Fr Varghese Vallikkattu told PTI.

He wrote the letter after Kerala police summoned him to appear before it for questioning in the case.

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

An FIR was registered against the bishop and a 114-page detailed statement was taken from the nun and other inmates of the convent.

(With PTI inputs)