Fr Abraham Varghese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian church, first accused in the case of sexually abusing a woman parishioner, has moved the Supreme Court seeking anticipatory bail.
He moved the court on Saturday morning, it pleads to uregnetly consider it on Monday. Police meanwhile have intensified their efforts to trace and arrest him.
Besides Fr Abraham Varghese, fourth accused in the case Fr Jaise K George, is also absconding.
The priests have been booked for rape and molestation by the Crime Branch.
Fr Johnson Mathew, who is the third accused in the case, surrendered in Thiruvalla on Friday, while the second accused, Fr Job Mathew, surrendered before the Kollam police on Thursday.
Police have reportedly seized the passport of Fr Abraham Varghese to prevent him from fleeing the country.
There are unconfirmed reports that the church has instructed the priests to surrender before the police.
It is alleged that Fr Abraham Varghese had been sexually abusing the woman since she was 16. The woman, in her statement to the Crime Branch, had said that she was in a relationship with him in 1999. At that time, she was 16 years old. He went on to become a priest but forced her to continue the relationship, even after they both married other individuals. Prior to the baptism of her baby, the woman had confessed to Fr Job Mathew about this, who in turn went on to blackmail and abuse her.
Fr Abraham Varghese, Fr Jaise K George - a councillor with the church and Fr Job Mathew, had moved the High Court on Tuesday seeking anticipatory bail, a day after they were booked on charges of rape and molestation.
The HC however rejected the bail petition, calling the accused predators.
The womanâ€™s husband who came to know about the whole matter in February this year, had complained to the church against the priests. Based on this, the DGP directed the Crime Branch to investigate the case.