Days after Bishop Franco Mulakkal returns to Jalandhar after getting conditional bail, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a key witness in the Kerala nun rape case was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his personal room in St. Mary’s Church in Dasuya on Monday.
Father Kattuthara, 60, was known for vociferously speaking against Mulakkal. The exact cause of his death is not known yet.
Father Kuriakose had earlier openly said that he had been getting death threats and that the church officials were tormenting him ever since he testified against Bishop Franco.
Meanwhile, family members of Father Kuriakose have alleged foul play in his death. An FIR was filed with the Alappuzha Police on Monday seeking inquiry into his death.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal has expressed sadness over the sudden demise of Father Kuriakose, a statement by Jalandhar Diocese said.
Father Kuriakose has served in the Diocese of Jalandhar in various capacities as Parish Priest, Professor, Director, Chaplin to convents etc. He was instrumental in preparing the Punjabi Missal for the local Church.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested in Kochi on September 21 after he was accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a nun between 2014 and 2016.
Mulakkal, who heads the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar in Punjab, is the first bishop in the country to be jailed for rape.
The action came after a nun complained that she was raped 13 times between 2014-16. The crime had occurred at a convent in Kottayam district.
The police in its remand report to a trial court said that Franco Mulakkal came to the convent with the intention of sexually assaulting the victim.
Earlier last week, the Kerala High Court granted conditional bail to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, stating that Franco should not enter Kerala and that he should surrender his passport before the court.