Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a Kerala nun, was shown black flags and his vehicle was blocked by agitators while he was leaving the crime branch office in Kerala’s Tripunithura following a seven-hour interrogation. Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subhash, who heads the Special Investigation Team, questioned the 54-year-old clergyman on the nun’s accusations that Mulakkal sexually assaulted her repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.
However, as the bishop stepped out of the crime branch office, the All India Youth Federation, the youth wing of Communist Party of India, waved black flags and tried to block his vehicle. The interrogation will continue on Thursday and the bishop has been asked to reach at 11 am. Kottayam Superintendent of police Hari Sankar said the clergyman was cooperating with the investigation.
“The first phase of interrogation is over. He has been asked to be present tomorrow morning at 11 am for continued interrogation. He has agreed to it,” Sankar said. When asked about the “contradictions” in the statements of the alleged victim, the witnesses and Mulakkal, as claimed by police earlier, Sankar said,” That’s the purpose of the interrogation. The interrogation is not over. We will reflect on it after it is over.”
The bishop on Tuesday got relief from the Kerala High Court, which agreed to hear his anticipatory bail plea on September 25. The court also asked the state government to file an affidavit.
Ahead of the questioning, Sankar said there had been no directive that the bishop should not be arrested. “We are under no pressure. We have conducted a detailed probe which was spread across five different states. There has been no directive that the bishop should not be arrested,” the Kottayam SP said.
Mulakkal has maintained that the allegations against him were a “cooked up story to wreak vengeance” for the actions taken by him on various complaints received against the nun. Meanwhile, around 13 kilometres away from the Crime Branch office, the protest by various Catholic reform organisations and a group of nuns seeking the priest’s arrest entered the 12th day.