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India

Indian bishop’s rape trial enters final stage

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested and charged with rape of a nun in 2018

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: November 24, 2021 09:21 AM GMT

Updated: November 25, 2021 05:37 AM GMT

Indian bishop’s rape trial enters final stage

A file photo of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar taken in 2017 (Photo: UCA News)

The trial of Indian Bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping a nun has entered its final stage with the court recording the testimonies of the investigating officials to be followed by their cross-examination.

“This process is set to be completed by the end of this month. The case will be posted for final argument in December and the order will be reserved,” said a government official who did not want to be named.

The trial had been expedited after the state High Court on Nov. 20 overruled a move to transfer the trial judge and allowed him to continue hearing the case until the pronouncement of the order, the official added.

Bishop Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese in the northern Indian state of Punjab is accused of raping a former superior general of Missionaries of Jesus (MJ), a diocesan congregation under his patronage, between the years 2014-16.

On Nov. 12, the Kerala state government in consultation with the Kerala High Court transferred G Gopakumar, the trial judge to the post of vigilance inquiry commissioner and special judge in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the southern state.

The transfer met with opposition from supporters of both the accused and the victim, who suspected a ploy to sabotage the ongoing hearings in the case.

“We suspected foul play in the transfer of the judge at this crucial juncture of the trial," said Felix Pulludan, president of the Joint Christian Council. 

Pulludan told UCA News on Nov. 24 that supporters of the victims wrote to the high court and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to allow the judge to complete the trial, threatening public protests if the request was denied.

But the high court on Nov. 20 issued a separate order retaining the judge in the same court until completion of the trial of Bishop Mulakkal.

Mulakkal supporters too wanted the judge to continue and expressed the hope that the “prelate will come out clean from all the charges” against him.

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The court had listed 84 witnesses, including Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, and a few other bishops, priests, nuns among others, but dropped nearly half of them as they presented identical evidence.

The special investigation team probing the case had filed a 2,000-page charge sheet against Bishop Mulakkal in April 2019. But he continues to hold the title of Jalandhar Bishop and remains in the bishop’s house despite the Vatican appointing an administrator to run the diocese.

Bishop Mulakkal maintains that the case stems from the nun's personal vendetta against him for initiating disciplinary action against her violations of norms and financial misappropriation.

4 Comments on this Story
SIMON JOSEPH
I think this UCA is a Jihadi- sponsored News Agency ???? See the title : Bishop's Rape Trial!
SIMON JOSEPH
"Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth” – this is supposed to have been the secret of the Nazi propaganda technique. But here it's practised to its perfection! I've not yet met the Bishop so far. I too was carried away by the hype created by the media who want only sensationalism to survive. But then I contacted one of our colleagues who had worked in Jalandhar previously. His reply was more than enough to correct my erroneous feelings. He told me, he knew the Bishop who was working with enthusiasm among the poor and had a very clean image when he was young. He got promoted as Auxiliary Bishop and posted to the Archdiocese of Delhi where he didn't have any relatives as he had hailed from a Syro-Malabar family in the Arch Diocese of Thrissur. And he was promoted and posted as Bishop of Jalandhar. So much so about the Bishop. And what about that lady who had hurled such a serious charge about the Bishop? These points would suffice to prove that her accusation was a Himalayan lie : 1) Her own first cousin giving a complaint in writing that the said lady used to come to her home when she had gone to her office which was at a very distance from the convent only to seduce her husband into an immoral relationship, in support of which she had referred to 23 SMS messages sent to him from the convent during odd hours - 2 am and 3 am. 2) That she had siphoned off funds to the tune of millions from her Congregation of which she was Mother General for two terms of 3 years each. 3)And the proceeds of those looted money were utilized by her brother who has no means- a goonda ! -to construct a multi-storied commercial complex. 4) That she had asked the Mother General in writing for permission to leave the Congregation, but had cancel her decision and came back after asking for permission, as her Goonda brother compelled her to do so - he wanted to enjoy all the loot on his own ! 5) The accusation of having been raped 13 times during a period of 15 months is actually making a mockery of the intelligence of an average Indian ! During this period she is happily participating in umpteen functions at the family of the Bishop like funeral of his mother and other functions ! False Sexual Harassment complaint by an immoral woman ?
EDWIN
You made a comment when actually you were not present. It is in the Courts lets wait for the verdict.
JOHN BRITTO
The title of the article is very misleading and biased. this is journalistic gymnastic just attract readers. It is, to say the least, very unethical for a news agency that claims to be Catholic.

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