FIR against Archbishop of Mumbai, bishops: Cops record statements of complainant and witnesseshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/fir-against-archbishop-of-mumbai-bishops-cops-record-statements-of-complainant-and-witnesses-5765557/

FIR against Archbishop of Mumbai, bishops: Cops record statements of complainant and witnesses

An FIR registered against the Archbishop of Mumbai and two bishops for allegedly not taking action on the complaint of a 13-year-old boy in 2015 stating that a priest had raped him.

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Following a sessions court order, the Mumbai Police registered the FIR last week against the trio for taking no action and also not informing the police about the incident.

Mumbai Police has recorded the statements of the complainant and two witnesses in connection with an FIR registered against the Archbishop of Mumbai and two bishops for allegedly not taking action on the complaint of a 13-year-old boy in 2015 stating that a priest had raped him.

Following a sessions court order, the Mumbai Police registered the FIR last week against the trio for taking no action and also not informing the police about the incident. The Shivaji Nagar police is investigating the case. As part of the probe, the police will also record the statements of the Archbishop and the two bishops named in the FIR.

A senior officer said, “Based on the court’s direction, we have begun investigations to see if there was any failure on the part of the accused to act on the complaint of a 13-year-old boy against a 51-year-old priest. Depending upon what is revealed in the investigation, we may either file a chargesheet or close the case.”

Sources said a detailed statement of the complainant and that of two other witnesses were registered by the police seeking details about when they had approached the Archbishop and the two bishops, and what exactly was the response. “We will then seek the version of the Archbishop and two bishops to the allegations made against them,” the officer said.

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Last month, a special court directed the police to investigate allegations that the Archbishop of Mumbai and two bishops had failed to act on a complaint by the minor. The priest, who was later arrested, is facing trial on charges including under Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC and relevant sections of the POCSO Act. The boy’s family said they had complained to the Archbishop and two bishops when the incident occurred, in November 2015. In February, the minor’s father filed an application before the special court seeking to include the three clergymen as accused in the ongoing case.

Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bombay, said, “We welcome the police probe as there is nothing to hide. That has been our stand since day one.”