Bishop Acquitted In Rape Case Shocks India
A sensational case of a Bishop been freed from a criminal charge by the court verdict in Kottayam has appeared in media. Bishop Franco Mulakkal was acquitted by the additional court on Friday from the rape charges of a catholic nun. Bishop Franco, was the bishop of Jalandhar, but after the rape case scandal came up, his powers had been removed in 2018.
Soon after the verdict was announced, the bishop said to the reporters present Daivathinu Sthuthi (Praise the Lord!)” thereafter he left the court premises. After the announcement of the verdit, he broke down and embraced his lawyers.
The arrest of Bishop Mulakkal is the first of its kind in India, where an Indian Catholic bishop was arrested in the case of rape and physical abuse and thereafter lodged in judicial custody for 25 days arrest in September, 2018. The trial commenced in 2020, and Mulakkal approached the High Court and the Supreme Court with a plea to quash the charges against him.
In 2018, he was arrested after a complaint was filed by a nun. In her complaint, a senior nun, belonging to the order of the Missionaries of Jesus of the Catholic Church, shared that Mulakkal had raped her 13 times at her Congregation’s mission house in Kottayam district, over a period of two years from May 5, 2014. subjecting her to unnatural sex 13 times between 2014 and 2016. An FIR was filed at the Kuravilangad police station in June, 2018 against the bishop.
As per the Bishop, the charges levied on him were fabricated, he also shared that the senior nun has put allegations against her as he took action against her with regard to a complaint raised by a woman. Few other allegations on Mulakkal were illegal confinement, sexual harassment through abuse of power, unnatural sex, rape and outraging the modesty of a woman.
Reacting to the judgment by the court, the investigating officer S. Harisankar, former Kottayam SP, said “This is an extremely unfortunate verdict, it is shocking for us. We had expected a conviction fully. We will appeal. We had a lot of corroborative evidence. All the witnesses in the case were ordinary people,” The pronouncement of the case happened on Friday morning, and considering the sensitive nature of this case, Police was deployed outside the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court.