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Bhopal archbishop granted bail

Priest claims bishop and two others tried to poison him

ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal

ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal

Published: February 22, 2013 06:48 AM GMT

Updated: February 21, 2013 08:51 PM GMT

Bhopal archbishop granted bail
Bhopal Catholics are planning a candlelight procession in support of Archbishop Leo Cornelio

Three Church officials including the Archbishop of Bhopal, accused of attempting to poison a fellow priest, were granted anticpatory bail on Thursday.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Sriram Sharma granted bail to Archbishop Leo Cornelio, his vicar general Father Mathew VC and diocesan spokesperson Father Jonhy PJ.

The court case was first registered on February 7 on behalf of Father Anand Muttungal, former archdiocesan spokesperson, who alleged that the three men had conspired to use unnecessary medicines to make him think that he was mentally unbalanced.

Fr Muttungal has claimed that the conspiracy was in response to previous allegations of financial mismanagement that he had brought against the archbishop and others in the archdiocese.

Archbishop Cornelio and his co-defendants have all denied any wrongdoing. The court is set to hear the case on March 1.

Judge Sharma directed the accused to furnish a bond of 10,000 rupees (US$183) each, remain in the country and cooperate with the court’s investigation.

Counsel for Fr Muttungal objected to the granting of bail on the grounds that the accused posed a threat to his client because of their positions of leadership in the archdiocese.

The court ruled that the accused had no criminal history and granted the bail request.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Association of Bhopal has planned a candlelight procession on the grounds of the Bhopal parish church to show solidarity with the accused archbishop and his colleagues.

“The issue should have been settled within the Church and should never have gone to civil court,” said Daniel John, president of the association. “As head and father of the local Church, it is impossible that the archbishop indulged in any such alleged activities.”

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He added that local parishioners hope the case will ultimately be withdrawn and settled amicably out of court.

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