Nun rape case verdict unfortunate, unprecedented: Former Kottayam SP Harishankar

Mulakkal, Harishankar
Former Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese Franco Mulakkal, Former Kottayam SP Harishankar

Kottayam: Former District Police Chief of Kottayam S Harishankar slammed the verdict in the sensational nun rape case, terming it 'unfortunate and unprecedented'.  

Former Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese Franco Mulakkal was acquitted from all charges in the nun rape case by the Additional Sessions Court on Friday.

"The verdict is highly unfortunate. This case will be unprecedented in the Indian judiciary,” the former Superintendent of Police, who headed the investigation into the case, said soon after hearing about the verdict. 

“There have been a lot of corroborative evidence and witnesses. It was a case which saw many common people come forward as witnesses. There were three medical evidences too.  We can look at this verdict only with shock,” Harishankar said expressing dismay.

“The nun's existence was dependent on the accused. She was not in a position to come out against the accused in haste. She had to suffer in silence for a long time,” he added.

“The case has a social angle too. The nun came forward as she got a last chance. There could be many situations where exploitation takes place in fiduciary relationships that exist in orphanages and care homes. We should check what kind of a message this verdict is passing on to society,” an agitated Harishankar said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subhash, the investigation officer, also said the verdict was unexpected. "The survivor was in a circumstance where she had no other avenue to complain. The court should have treated the case that way," he said.

Meanwhile, senior lawyer CS Ajayan who argued the case for the accused said the statements of the witnesses were in favour of the accused.

"As many as 39 witnesses were tried. There was no witnesses or documents to corroborate the allegations of the nun," he told reporters after the verdict. He said a TV interview also became a crucial evidence in favour of the bishop.

The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district in June, 2018.

In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by Franco between 2014 and 2016.

The Special Investigation Team which probed the case, had arrested the Bishop in September 2018 and charged him with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.

Trial in the case, started in November 2019, had concluded on January 10.

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