Bishop Franco Mulakkal likely to be arrested

Jayarajan

Catholic bishop accused of raping nun arrested by Indian police

The decision to arrest the Bishop will be taken post-interrogation, reported the daily. "Let us wait. A decision will be definitely taken today or tomorrow after the interrogation", Behera told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Allahabad High Court had severely reprimanded the Uttar Pradesh government and Uttar Pradesh Police for delaying the arrest of Unnao BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is an accused in the Unnao rape.

The interrogation had got underway on the third day at the special interrogation centre at Tripunithura around 10.45am.

The police had issued a summons to the Bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese on September 12 directing him to appear by September 19 in relation to the rape charges levelled against him by a nun.

She said she was forced to approach police because church authorities did not take action after she reported the attacks. There is no such law (that bars arrest during pendency of bail plea).

The Bishop was accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a nun for two years between 2014 and 2016. "That we will discuss with the legal team".

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Mulakkal, who heads the diocese of Jalandhar, wrote to the Vatican on Sunday asking to step down temporarily as protests and calls for his arrest grew. Some people also burnt an effigy of Mulakkal.

The police move which concluded three days of high drama, also made the Franco arguably the first bishop to be arrested for sexual abuse in India.

A group of Catholic nuns launched a rare street protest nearly a fortnight ago in Kochi, the state's financial hub, demanding justice for the nun.

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

The bishop, who recently temporarily relinquished his administrative responsibilities, joined the probe at around 11 am at the crime branch office, where some members of All India Youth Federation, the students front of the CPI, held a protest demanding his arrest. Mulakkal has rejected the allegations, calling them a conspiracy against the church.

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