Rape accused bishop Franco Mulakkal moves SC with discharge plea

B Balagopal/Mathrubhumi News

New Delhi: Jalandhar's former Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused in the nun rape case, has submitted a discharge plea at the Supreme Court. In the plea filed, he also requested to stay the trial procedures in the case, until SC pronounces its verdict on the plea.

Meanwhile, the state government and the victim nun have filed petitions opposing it.

Franco has argued in his plea that the allegations against him are framed and was raised seeking personal revenge. When he questioned some financial dealings of the nun, rape complaint was filed against him, he alleged. The plea also said that there are discrepancies in the nun’s statements.

The Kerala High Court had earlier rejected the petition filed by Franco Mulakkal seeking to discharge him from a case pertaining to the rape of a nun in 2018. It had also asked him to appear for trial. However, he didn’t appear following which the bail granted to him was cancelled and a non-bailable warrant issued against him. He moved the SC after this.

Meanwhile, the nun and state government have approached the SC demanding not to pronounce the verdict without hearing their part. All these petitions will be considered by the apex court next week.

Franco Mulakkal, arrested on September 21, 2018 on rape charges after a nun in the Missionaries of Jesus congregation filed a complaint accusing him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 in Kottayam. He got bail on October 16, 2018. The Kerala Police has filed a 1,400-page charge sheet against him.

The charge sheet names 83 witnesses, including Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and many nuns.

After the case came to light, Franco Mulakkal was removed as head of the Jalandhar diocese.

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