Kottayam: The Pala Magistrate Court has accepted the charge sheet against the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, in a rape case against a nun. The court has sent summons to the bishop and asked to be present in court on 10th of this month.
After the copy of the charge sheet and other related documents are given, the case will be transferred to the Kottayam District Court.
In the charge sheet the bishop is accused of five counts of offence. The police accuse Franco Mulakkal for unlawful detention, misuse of power to sexually harass a woman, sexually harassment of woman under his authority, unnatural sex, threatening using his authority, and multiple rape of the same woman by misusing his authority.
The case has a total of 83 witnesses including Cardinal George Alencherry, 11 priests, 3 bishops, and 25 nuns. Moreover, Magistrates who took the secret confessions are also witnesses in this case.
The rape case of the Bishop of Jalandhar caused a huge stir in the public consciousness of Kerala. People were raged because the communist government took a lethargic approach in the investigation.
The police became active only after 5 nuns took to the streets in front of the High Court of Kerala seeking justice for their fellow sister. The civil society and common people joined hands in solidarity to the nuns and pressurized the government to take strong action against the bishop.
However, the Church tried to harass the nuns who tried to seek justice for the victim.
Police deliberately delayed the arrest of the bishop by citing many reasons. He was arrested only after a huge public outcry.
On 30 March, a priest very close to Bishop France, Father Anthony, was arrested in the outskirts of Jalandhar by Income Tax officials for carrying Rs. 10 crore. The officials had got wind of unlawful activities in the region earlier and were on the lookout for anti social elements when the Father was caught red handed.
Father Anthony’s arrest and the amount of money in his possession raised many questions about the source of the money and the financial dealings of the father’s boss, Bishop Franco.