Kerala Nun Rape Case: HC Grants Conditional Bail To Bishop Franco Mulakkal [Read Order]
Fomer bishop of Jalandhar diocese of Catholic Church, Franco Mulakkal, who stands accused of raping a nun, was granted conditional bail on Monday by the Kerala High Court.
Granting bail, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan directed the Bishop to surrender his passport and not to enter Kerala state except for appearing before the probe officer once in two weeks on Saturdays. The condition would be applicable till a chargesheet is filed in the case.
"It appears that the investigation has progressed to the final stages. The statement of all material witnesses have been recorded. The prosecution has no case that there is a real danger of the applicant absconding or fleeing if he is released on bail. The applicant was a Bishop with no criminal antecedents and his means, position and standing is not disputed by the State", Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan observed in the order.
The prosecution had opposed the bail application contending that releasing him at this stage will hamper the investigation.
The Bishop has been accused of raping a nun of the congregation, Missionaries of Jesus on multiple occasions between May, 2014 and September, 2016, abusing his dominant position.
He was arrested by the police on September 21, after three days of interrogation since September 19. On September 22, the Magistrate had granted two days police custody for further interrogation.
The police had submitted that he had to be taken to the guest house of the convent where the offence allegedly took place to gather further evidence and that they also wanted to examine his mobile records and laptop. He was then remanded to judicial custody on September 24 up to October 6.
Thereafter, the high court had, on October 3, dismissed his bail application, holding that there existed a prima facie case against him.
The plea was then dismissed by Justice Raja Vijaya Raghavan, who opined that it was premature and that the investigation was steadily progressing in the matter. The court had further asserted that the release of the Bishop, who holds a powerful position in the society, at this juncture would be detrimental to the investigation as the accused is likely to attempt to influence the witnesses if released on bail.