Bishop Franco Mulakkal's remand extended till Oct 20

Cops to record claims of 5 nuns close to abused sister
The police fear the bishop may use his clout to turn around witnesses once he manages bail. File photo

Kottayam: The Pala First-Class Judicial Magistrate court on Saturday remanded Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of sexually assaulting a nun, till October 20. Mulakkal was produced before the court Saturday as his remand period ended.

The magisterial court had remanded him to 12-day judicial custody on September 24.

The Kerala High Court had on October 3 rejected the bail plea of the bishop. The court dismissed the plea while accepting the prosecution argument that the accused, holding a high position in society, will try to influence witnesses in the case, if he is granted bail.

The police said the investigation in the case was progressing even after the arrest of the accused.

The court also took note of the submission by the prosecution that the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage and more statements of fellow nuns have to be recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC in connection with the case.

Bishop Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 amid mounting public outrage over allegations of repeatedly raping the nun. This is the first time in the country that a bishop has been arrested.

The bishop moved the High Court after the magistrate court in Pala rejected his bail application. In its remand report submitted in the court, police had said the nun was abused by the accused at the guest house of St Francis Mission Home in Kerala between 2014 and 2016.

In her complaint to the Kottayam police in June, the nun had alleged that the priest raped her at a guest house at Kuravilangad in Kottayam May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions. She said she had approached the police as the Church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.

The bishop has denied the charges.

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