The High Court of Kerala has today dismissed the bail application by Franco Mulakkal, erstwhile Bishop of Jalandhar, who stands accused of raping a nun. The court negatived the bail plea holding that there existed a prima facie case against the accused.
Justice Raja Vijaya Raghavan, who considered the bail plea, dismissed the same holding that it was premature and further the investigation was steadily progressing in the matter even after the arrest of the petitioner.The court after perusing the case diary observed that the statements of material witnesses in the case are yet to recorded by a magistrate.The release of the petitioner, 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,the court said. The court also took note of the separate case proceedings that have been launched against the attempt to influence the witnesses in the matter.
On September 24, Franco was remanded to judicial custody by the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Pala till October 6.
He was arrested by police on September 21 evening, after three days of interrogation since September 19. On September 22, the Magistrate had granted two days police custody of Franco for further interrogation. The police stated that he had to be taken to the guest house of the convent where the offence allegedly took place to gather further evidence, and also required to examine his mobile records and laptop. On September 24, he remand was extended up to October 6 by giving him to judicial custody.
The allegation is that the complainant-nun was subjected to rape on multiple occasions between 6-5-2014 to 23-09-2016 by Franco Mulakkal by abusing his dominant position. On the basis of her complaint, the Kuravilangad police registered Crime No. 746 of 2018 for offences punishable under Sections 342, 376 (2)(k) and (n) , 377, and 506 (I) IPC.