The investigation into the alleged rape of a Thiruvalla woman by four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church is progressing fast, with the possibility of imminent arrest of the accused priests looming over their heads.
With the Kerala High Court posting the anticipatory bail applications of two accused priests in the sensational Malankara Orthodox church sex-for-silence case to next Monday, the Crime Branch is reportedly mulling arresting the two other priests who have not yet sought anticipatory bail.
On Tuesday, Fr Abraham Varghese and Fr Job Mathew had moved the Kerala High Court seeking anticipatory bail, just a day after the crime branch booked four priests under charges of raping and molesting a woman from Thiruvalla.
According to television media reports, the Crime Branch is likely to arrest the other two priests - Fr Johnson Mathew and Fr Jaise George. The accused priests are absconding, the Crime Branch officials have confirmed.
Reports also stated that the other two priests are also likely to approach the court seeking anticipatory bail.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the survivor was produced before Thiruvalla First-Class Magistrate Court and her statement was recorded. She reportedly reiterated that she was allegedly raped by the four priests and stuck to the earlier statement sheâ€™d given to the Crime Branch.
The case was registered against the priests after the investigating team recorded the survivor's statement. According to Crime Branch sources, Fr Job Mathew is accused of blackmailing the survivor using her statements given during confession way back in 2009. While the survivor's husband has accused five priests, sources in the department say that the survivor has named only four priests.
The survivor had reportedly confessed about her relationship to Fr Job, before getting married, after which he allegedly threatened that he would disclose it to the survivor's husband. Subsequently, more priests began to threaten her and demand sexual favours.
The survivor's husband had not approached the police but filed a complaint with the Church after which the incident came to light when the audio of a telephonic conversation of the husband was leaked. This put tremendous pressure on the police to register a case against the priests.