Cops quiz rape case bishop for 7 hours

Minnie Murray
September 24, 2018

Kochi: A group of protestors spearheading the agitation for the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of rape and unnatural sex by a nun, has alleged that the delay in arresting the cleric 'is sheer subversion of the law'. He had complained of pain in his chest while being taken to Kottayam Police club from the Crime Branch office in Thrippunithura in Ernakulam district Friday night, PTI reported.

When asked if Mulakkal can be arrested before September 25, the day his anticipatory bail plea will come up for hearing in the high court, the top police officer said, "I think, legally there is no problem". "Given the stature of the accused, the police left nothing to chance before arresting him", and a police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The visitors' register at the mission house also shows that Mulakkal was there on the days mentioned by the nun, said sources. "The Kerala police have arrested him due to the pressure of protesting nuns".

A statement released by the Catholic Bishop Conference of India revealed that the Vatican had accepted the bishop's request to "temporarily" step down to fight the accusations. When the church failed to take action on this matter, the nun approached the Kerala police.

This is the first time in the country that a bishop has been arrested for rape. Backed by activists and students, the nuns demanded the bishop be prosecuted.

The bishop has not been charged, but has given interviews denying wrongdoing and saying he wanted to defend his name.

On Thursday, the Vatican relieved Mulakkal "temporarily" of all pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, the Press Trust reported.

The five nuns of Missionaries of Jesus are determined to get justice.

Like on Wednesday, Inspector General Vijay Sakhre, Harishankar and his deputy K. Subhash held a meeting at the IG office in Kochi ahead of the interrogation.

#2.00 pm: "Even if it's one time or 13 times, it's rape".

The investigating team, meanwhile, are quizzing the bishop for the third consecutive day.

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