A Kerala Police team reached Jalandhar on Friday morning to question Bishop Franco Mulakkal regarding allegations of sexually abusing a 44-year-old nun in Kottayam multiple times. The team will be in the city for three days. The interrogation is currently underway.
The Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar has been accused of sexually abusing the nun several times at a convent in Kuruvalangadu near Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.
Even as the six-member team, led by Vaikom Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subhash, was on its way, a group of parishioners gathered at the Bishop’s residence.
The police team completed preliminary investigations in Kerala. Before reaching Jalandhar, the team arrived in Delhi, where they questioned a woman who had filed a complaint against the nun for an alleged affair with her husband.
Members of the Jalandhar police accompanied the investigating team for the interrogation.
In June, an FIR was registered against the bishop after a 114-page detailed statement was taken from the nun and other members of the convent.
The bishop, however, has denied any wrongdoing. He told the Punjab media last month that he was waiting to meet the probe team formed after Kerala Police chief Loknath Behera reviewed the case.
Statements were taken from the head of the Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal Mar George Alencherry and a few nuns of the convent.
On July 19, an audio clip broadcast by a Malayalam television channel, purportedly revealed that Cardinal Alencherry had lied about not knowing that the nun had been sexually abused by the bishop. Later, although the Syro-Malabar Church admitted that the voice in the audio clip was that of the Cardinal, it claimed that the contents had been “twisted and interpreted wrongly”.
A week later, another audio clip emerged wherein Father James Erthayil, attached to the Kanjirappallly diocese of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, tried to bribe Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who supported the nun. Father James offered to build a convent for the nuns if they stopped supporting the survivor.