A first class court of the Pala Judicial Magistrate on Saturday extended the remand period of Jalandhar Bishop, Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun multiple times. The remand period has been extended to October 20. The Bishop was presented before the court on Saturday after the initial remand period of 14 days got over.
Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 several months after the nun complained and, on September 24, he was sent to two weeks judicial custody by the very same court. According to an IANS report, the entire proceedings took around five minutes and he informed the court that he had no problems in the Pala sub-jail, where he has been kept since he was sent to remand.
However, his counsel informed the media that in the coming week, they will approach the Kerala High Court again seeking bail.
On October 3, the Kerala High Court denied Mulakkal's bail plea as Justice V Raja Vijayaraghavan observed that there was evidence against the bishop. The High Court had said if the bail plea is accepted, then there are chances that the investigation process, which is going smoothly can get disrupted. Taking into account the possibility of the witnesses being influenced, the investigating team had recorded their statements in the presence of the magistrate.
Mulakkal, who heads the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar, Punjab, is the first bishop in the country to be sent to jail on charges of rape and since then he has been getting a steady stream of high profile visitors including leading politicians.
On September 8, five sisters of the Kuravilangad convent began a protest outside the Kochi High Court demanding the arrest of the Bishop as months had passed since the survivor nun had filed a complaint, but no action had been taken. The protests had received support from various corners and the nuns had made it clear that the protests would continue till the Bishop was arrested.