The Kerala High Court has granted conditional bail to Bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun. The high court laid down the conditions that the 54-year-old Bishop should not come to Kerala except for appearing before the probe officer once in two weeks on Saturdays, and should surrender his passport before the court. This condition would be applicable till a charge sheet is filed in the case.
In her complaint to the Kottayam Police in June, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions.
The nun said she had to approach the police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman. However, the bishop has denied the charges as "baseless and concocted," insisting she levelled those as the Catholic order had rejected her demand for favours. He had last month stepped aside as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese.
On October 3, the high court had rejected the Bishop’s bail plea. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan accepted prosecution’s take of the case being hampered if the accused was given the bail as he holds a high position in the society will try to influence witnesses in the case.
The court also took note of the submission by the prosecution that the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage and more statements of fellow nuns have to be recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC in connection with the case.