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KOTTAYAM: With pressure mounting from various quarters for the arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal facing rape allegation from a nun belonging to a congregation under his diocese, the police have decided to expedite formalities to grill the bishop.
As part of the move, the investigation team has been expanded by including Circle Inspectors of Kaduthuruthi and Vakathanam in the team to collect maximum evidence to counter possible arguments from bishop Mulakkal.
Having held a meeting with the investigating officer and Vaikom DySP K Subhash the other day, Kottayam district police chief Hari Sankar is learnt to have decided to explore the possibility of summoning bishop Mulakkal for further interrogation and to record his arrest, if needed. Any further move in this regard will be taken after Hari Sankar and Subhash meet Kochi Range IG Vijay S Sakhare on Wednesday to review the investigation over the past one week.
“Around 70-80 per cent of the investigation is over. We have already planned activities for the next 10 days of the investigation process,” said Hari Sankar.
The investigation team has decided to speed up the case in the wake of an indefinite protest launched in Kochi by the nuns and members of the Joint Christian Council supporting the victim.
A complaint filed in the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to speed up the investigation has also forced the police to take such a decision.
MJ issues statement supporting bishop
Kochi: The Missionaries of Jesus, the congregation belonging to the nuns who are protesting against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, on Monday issued a three-page statement saying the allegations against the Bishop are “baseless” and “external forces” are behind the protest. Stating the demonstration by the nuns are against the faith, the MJ Congregation condemned their action to stage the hunger strike at the High Court junction here. The strike entered the third day on Monday. “We learn the sisters have complained against the authorities at MJ Congregation for the lack of support for the strike. We cannot support the false complaints by nuns against an innocent person,” the statement said without naming the Bishop. The statement was signed by Mother General Sr Regina and four other councillor nuns.
Minorities Commission registers suo motu case
T’Puram: The Kerala State Commission for Minorities has suo motu registered a case on the allegation that top police officers were trying to sabotage the rape charge case against Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal. The commission on Monday ordered state police chief Loknath Behera and Kochi Range IG Vijay S Sakhare to file a report before the commission at the earliest. Chairman of the commission P K Haneefa said the case was registered on the basis of newspaper reports regarding allegations by nuns of Missionaries of Jesus that the state police chief and the Kochi Range IG were trying to scuttle the investigation against the bishop. The commission will take appropriate measures once the police officers file their reports, Haneefa said. The commission’s order came at a time when public outrage has intensified over the alleged reluctance of the police to arrest bishop Franco Mulakkal.
AIYF demands legal action against P C George
T’Puram: Legal action should be taken against PC George MLA for insulting the victim in the nun harassment case, All India Youth Front (AIYF), the youth wing of CPI said. In a statement issued here, the AIYF expressed solidarity with the open protest by nuns in Kochi demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal. As many as 76 days after a complaint was filed, the accused is out in the open challenging the entire judicial system. The police have not taken him into custody. Instead, they have been playing the role of a mute witness, it said.
Chennithala urges police to speed up investigation
Kochi: Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on Monday urged the police to speed up the investigation into the charges levelled against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Chennithala said there are widespread complaints the investigation is moving at a snail’s pace and it’s a matter of concern it is yet to be wrapped up even after 76 days. “The government should ensure the police speed up the probe and the guilty, how influential they might be, brought before the law. The attempt to subvert the investigation in favour of the guilty will not be tolerated,” he said. The BJP-Sangh Parivar members have also demanded the bishop’s immediate arrest.
LDF, UDF collaborating to protect bishop: BJP
T’Puram: BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai alleged the state government is supporting the accused in the nun rape case and said the delay in pressing criminal proceedings and the arrest of Bishop Franco who allegedly raped the nun is like offering a chance to the accused to escape. He said the LDF Government, with the support of the Congress-led UDF, is trying to redefine the law and Constitution, and executing it according to their choices. He said the state government has to respond to why the legal system is frozen in the case related to Bishop Franco. Pillai said while in a rape case only the statement of the victim is required to arrest the accused, and even after the nun’s repeated allegations that she was raped, strangely, no arrest has been made. The nun lodged a complaint 10 times and under CRPC 164, she had given a statement in the magistrate court and still the arrest is being delayed, the BJP state president charged.