KOTTAYAM: A Kerala court on Saturday extended by 14 days the judicial custody of Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, arrested over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun.
The magistrate’s court in Pala in Kottayam district of the state remanded the bishop to judicial custody till October 20.
The 54-year-old clergyman was produced before the court after the period of his judicial custody ended Saturday.
Sources said the lawyers of the bishop were planning to approach the Kerala High Court once again, seeking bail.
The high court had dismissed Mulakkal’s bail plea on Wednesday, while accepting the prosecution’s argument that the accused, holding a high position in the society, would try to influence the witnesses in the case if he was granted bail.
The police had said the investigation in the case was progressing even after the arrest of the accused.
The bishop is currently lodged in a sub-jail in Pala.
In her complaint to the Kottayam Police in June, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal had raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and subsequently, sexually exploited her on several occasions. The nun had said she had to approach the police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against Mulakkal.
The arrest of the accused came after intense political pressure and a month-long protest in Kochi by five nuns of the order.
However, the bishop has denied the charges. Mulakkal’s lawyers had argued in the HC that the case against him is fabricated and is retaliatory in nature for the action he took against the nun on a separate complaint.