The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a plea by former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, charged in the rape case of a nun, against a Kerala High Court order rejecting his petition for discharge in the case.
On July 7, the High Court had ruled that the Bishop must face trial in the case after the prosecution had argued that there’s ample evidence against him based on the FIR as well as the secret statement provided by the victim.
Mulakkal had moved the top court after a trial court in Kottayam had cancelled his bail on grounds of his failure to appear on numerous occasions before the court despite several warnings. The court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
Mulakkal, through his counsel, had informed the court that he would not be able to appear in person as he was on the primary contact list of a person who tested positive for coronavirus in Jalandhar in Punjab where he is currently based. A day later, he tested positive for the virus.
On July 1 too, when the case last came up for hearing, Mulakkal had excused himself by stating that he was located in a containment zone and therefore wouldn’t be able to travel to Kerala.
Mulakkal, who was granted bail in 2018, is accused of raping a nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus several times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kottayam district in Kerala.
The 56-year-old was arrested following huge protests in Kerala and spent nearly 40 days in jail before he received bail. While he claims the charges are concocted, the rape victim and her colleagues in the order have stuck to their testimony.
There are also allegations that he, through the Church, was going about intimidating witnesses and applying pressure on others to change their testimonies.