Bishop Franco Mulakkal likely to be arrested

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun is escorted by police outside a crime branch office on the outskirts of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala India

Indian bishop arrested on charges of raping nun: police

Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016 in a case that has drawn widespread attention in India, where it remains rare for members of the church to accuse senior clergy of wrongdoing publicly. Shortly after his arrival, the police team led by Kottayam superintendent of police Hari Sankar and Vaikom deputy superintendent of police K.Subhash started the interrogation at the hi-tech facility. Earlier, on August 18, he was interrogated by the police in Jalandhar. He, however, reached at 10.40am from a five-star hotel in Kochi for the interrogation amid tight police security. Mulakkal approached the high court for anticipatory bail, the hearing for which was adjourned to 25 September. The court also asked the state government to file an affidavit.

On September 16, the Bishop had written to Pope Francis, seeking permission to step down temporarily from his post. In a letter, the rape-accused Bishop stated that he needed more time to travel to Kerala in order to fight the case. "We are all with the bishop", the Rev. Peter Kavumpuram, a spokesman for the diocese, told CNN.

"After examining him only a decision will be taken".

This came as the SIT of Kerala police resumed questioning the bishop on Thursday. The decision to arrest the Bishop will be taken post-interrogation, reported the daily. Following her complaint, the bishop was booked under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

On Wednesday, the Jalandhar Bishop was interrogated for almost seven hours since 11 in the morning.

Apostolic Nunciature (Pope's Ambassador) to India has accepted the request of rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese to relieve him of his religious duties temporarily.

Outside India, the Catholic Church is facing sexual abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia, Germany and other countries.

Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a Kerala nun, has been questioned for the last three days. They had also staged a protest on Wednesday. The victim nun had also reportedly said that the Bishop had been using his political and economic clout to brush off the case which has been lodged against him.

Mulakkal has, however, dismissed the allegations as "baseless and concocted", insisting he was "innocent". Mulakkal has maintained that the allegations against him were a "cooked up story to wreak vengeance" for the actions taken by him on various complaints received against the nun.

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