Police on Monday registered a case against a senior priest for his alleged attempt to influence the nun who has accused Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape. The case was lodged on a direction of the judicial first class magistrate court in Pala after the audio clip of a purported conversation between Fr Aerthayil and a nun close to the complainant came out in the media.
Catholic congregation Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) too initiated disciplinary action against Aerthayil. Aerthayil, a former chairman of Catholic Church mouthpiece Deepika, was removed as head of the CMI monastery at Kurianad in Kottayam a day after a voice clip came out in the media.
In the voice clip, Aerthayil was heard asking the nun, who is staying with the complainant at their Kuravilangad convent in Kottayam, that if they are ready to withdraw the complaint, they would be allowed to move to a new convent, which would be constructed somewhere under the jurisdiction of Kanjirapally diocese. Aerthayil is also heard stating he was making a suggestion and the nuns should “think positively”.
The nun is heard saying in the audio clip that they would not withdraw the complaint as it was the bishop who first moved a complaint against them. Aerthayil was not available for comment.
The Jalandhar diocese has stated that it had not asked anyone to initiate “conciliatory discussions” with the nuns.
CMI provincial general Fr Sebastian Elanjickal said the congregation has sought an explanation from the priest.
He has been removed as head of the monastery and transferred out of the premises as a disciplinary action.