A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that prima facie investigation into the alleged rape of a nun by Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal was being conducted in a fair and professional manner, and it would be inappropriate to issue any specific direction on the conduct of the probe.
The bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankar Nambiar was hearing a petition questioning the delay in arrest of the accused, and another petition seeking an order to hand over the probe to the CBI.
The court observed that the usual way of immediate arrest of an accused may not be applicable in this case, as two years had elapsed since the alleged crime. The court also said the arrest was the discretion of the police.
Director General of Prosecutions Sreedharan Nair submitted a detailed affidavit in a sealed cover, explaining the case and progress of the investigation. The police told the court that notice had been issued to the bishop to appear before the investigating officer on September 19. The affidavit said the investigation was spread across five states and seven districts of Kerala. It said 81 witnesses had been examined, and four material objects and 34 documents seized.
Quoting the report, the court said that since the alleged incidents of abuse had taken place between 2014 and 2016, the report showed that the police were making an all-out endeavour to iron out contradictions in the statements received from the witnesses and the accused. People should be interested in the final conviction of the accused, not his arrest, said the court.
The court posted the hearing for September 24 to review the progress of the case.