Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested on September 21 on charges of raping a nun from the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) congregation, was granted bail on Monday. He had earlier filed a bail application earlier this month in the Kerala High Court, which was rejected.
The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered the bishop to be present before the investigating officer once in two weeks. The bishop has also been directed to surrender his passport to the court and he has been forbidden from entering Kerala.
The Kerala police objected to Mulakkal’s bail plea inside the court and told the court that the statements of 22 more people need to be recorded in the case.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun belonging to the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kottayam, was arrested on September 21. The Bishop was arrested from the Thripunithura Crime Branch Police Station after a three-day interrogation. On September 24, the Bishop filed an application seeking bail when he was produced in Pala Judicial Magistrate Court, which was rejected by the magistrate.
The Kerala High Court had rejected the bail plea of bishop Franco Mulakkal in the Kerala nun rape case. The court rejected the plea on the grounds that there is prima facie evidence against the bishop.
The Bishop of Jalandhar has been accused of raping a 44-year-old nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016.
Two months after the survivor lodged a complaint, five nuns from the convent -- Anupama, Josephine, Neena Rose and Anaitha - protested in front of the Kerala high court alleging inaction by the police. This sparked outrage across the state, exerting pressure on Kerala police, who then issued summons to the bishop, asking him to appear for questioning on September 19.
A day before his arrest, the Apostolic Nunciature to India accepted Franco Mulakkal's request to be relieved of his religious duties temporarily. Pope Francis also appointed the Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Bombay to take over the duties.