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Kerala nun rape case: Bishop’s arrest looms large as police seek clarification

The decision was taken during a one-hour meeting of Kochi Range IG Vijay Sakhre with the Director General of Prosecution’s office here.

Published: 21st September 2018 03:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2018 12:15 PM   |  A+A-

Bishop Franco Mulakkal leaves the Crime Branch Office in Tripunithura after the second day’s interrogation | A Sanesh

Express News Service

KOCHI:  After nearly 14 hours of interrogation over two days, the investigation team has collected ample evidence to infer that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal had committed the rape of the nun. Yet the police said his arrest will be recorded only after getting clarification on a few more points in his statements. The probe team issued him another notice under CrPC section 41 (A), directing him to appear at 10.30 am on Friday. 

The decision was taken during a one-hour meeting of Kochi Range IG Vijay Sakhre with the Director General of Prosecution’s office here. Thursday’s interrogation ended by 7 pm. The investigation team has collected the timings of the bishop’s visit to St Francis Mission House at Kuravilangad where the alleged rape had happened. Earlier, the bishop had denied he visited the guest house at the time and dates mentioned by the victim, something he reiterated on Wednesday.

Sources said the probe team is looking for a clarification in this regard. The bishop had also submitted that in November 2016, a woman approached the Superior General at Jalandhar and orally complained the victim was having an illicit affair with her husband and she wanted the congregation to take action against her.

Later the woman sent a detailed e-mail with attachments to the Superior General narrating the entire incident. The woman also handed over the details of chat messages and also a photograph of the victim’s sister, which were all retrieved from the phone of woman’s husband. Based on the complaint, an inquiry was conducted and the victim was removed as Kerala in-charge of the Mission House. The investigation team will conduct a fact-finding examination in this regard.

There was widespread speculation that the bishop would be arrested on Thursday evening, but Kottayam SP Hari Sankar said: “The bishop has been directed to appear at 10.30 am on Friday. A decision on his arrest will be taken only after receiving legal advice.”

Short takes
Verification on 10 per cent of statements is required. Most of the facts stated by him were already known to us — Kottayam SP Hari Sankar
The police had prepared a fresh set of questions for Thursday’s interrogation, which was recorded using multiple cameras
Anticipating a surge in the protests seeking the bishop’s arrest, more police personnel were deployed in and around the CB office

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