Kerala court cancels Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s bail in nun rape case

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A court in Kerala’s Kottayam district has cancelled the bail granted to Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, whoo is accused of raping a nun, for failing to appear for the trial in the case and issued a Non Bailable Warrant against him.

The Bishop kept off the hearing in the Additional Sessions Court at Kottayam on Monday, July 13. His counsel informed the court that his client could not appear as he had been in self-quarantine due to his primary contact with a COVID-19 infected person.

During the previous hearing on 1 July also he had failed to appear before the Court, claiming that Jalandhar civil line where Mulakkal lived was declared as coronavirus containment zone. However, the special prosecutor deposed that the Jalandhar civil line was not part of any containment zone when the case was taken up for hearing on Monday.

Admitting the argument, the court cancelled the bail of the bishop. The court had earlier expressed serious reservation over the bishop's absence and asked him to appear before it on July 1. Earlier he had absented citing absence of domestic flights from Jalandhar to Kerala.

The case surfaced two years ago when a 43-year-old nun at Kuravilangad in Kottayam district had complained to the police that Mulakkal had raped her several times between 2014 and 2016. The bishop, who was arrested by the Special Investigation Team which probed the case, has been charged with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.

After a chargesheet was filed against him, the bishop had approached the Sessions court to discharge him from the case. As his plea was rejected, he filed a revision petition in the high court. The court dismissed the plea, admitting the prosecution's argument that there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the rape case.

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