KOCHI: The only legal option before Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal is to approach the court seeking bail, while the investigation team’s next move will be to collect concrete evidence to establish the crime through medical examination and recovery of evidence.
Senior public prosecutor Suman Chakravarthy said on Friday the police acted only within the framework of law. A Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court had expressed satisfaction over the method in which the probe was being conducted.
Senior advocate P Vijayabhanu, counsel for the bishop, told ‘Express’: “When the application for anticipatory bail plea is pending, there is no legal bar in arresting the accused in which the accused has always been available for the investigating agency for the past five months. He has been cooperating with the investigation, undergoing questioning and producing documents. In such circumstances courtesy demands that the police do not ‘’steal a march over the judge concerned and deprive him of exercising his discretion in the matter.”
‘Delay in arrest reprehensible’
Vijayabhanu added that the anticipatory bail plea becomes infructuous once the arrest is recorded. The fresh bail plea will be filed when the bishop will be produced before the trial court. Former Director General of Prosecutions T Asaf Ali said that the police have to produce the accused before the magistrate concerned within 24 hours of the arrest. Necessarily, the police will have to seek custody of the accused for medical examination, including potency test and taking the accused to various places, including the alleged places where the victim was raped by the accused.
The scenes of rape have to be identified and semen-stained clothes or something like that pursuant to the statement made by the accused have to be recovered. In the case of the accused seeking bail from the Magistrate Court or other courts, there is every chance of disappearance of evidence and terrorising witnesses, Asaf Ali added.
Meanwhile, Asaf Ali criticised the police for the delay in arresting the accused.“Culpable negligence on the part of the police in delaying the arrest is highly reprehensible. It is trite that for arresting an accused in a case of rape at workplace, only a reasonable complaint or a credible information or a reasonable suspicion alone is necessary to the effect that the accused has committed an offence.
The act of the police seeking the nod of the public prosecutor for arresting the accused in a case of rape at the embryo stage of investigation also is highly illegal and against the established procedure of law,” he added.
Bishop Franco taken to Kottayam MC
On the way to Kottayam, Bishop Franco was taken to the Kottayam Medical College after he complained of chest pain. Doctors will conduct a thorough check-up on him.