It's part of larger conspiracy against church: Bishop Franco

Interview with Jalandhar Latin Diocese Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File

He is at the helm of one of the richest dioceses in the country. Jalandhar Latin Diocese Bishop Franco Mulakkal, till recently, was known for his strict religious views which earned him the sobriquet “Taliban”. But now, he is in the eye of a storm which has nothing spiritual about it. A nun under his diocese has accused him of raping her 13 times and a police case has been filed.

Bishop Franco, however, in an interview with THE WEEK, insists he is a victim of a conspiracy against the church. Excerpts:

Till recently, you have been known as someone who adheres strictly to religious vows and principles. But now one gets to hear shocking things about you.

They all are lies. It is nothing but character assassination. I am a man of strong values. What you have heard are prejudiced and fabricated versions meant to tarnish my image.

But why should anyone do that without any reason?

Rumours are being spread about me because I gave permission to initiate an inquiry into an allegation of illicit relationship against the sister in picture. That is all I did and I am being maligned.

But some other sisters have also come out supporting her.

They all are part of a larger conspiracy. This conspiracy is not just against me, but against the church. And these sisters are mere tools. Unfortunately, media is buying into their drama and sob stories and I am being portrayed as a villain.

The image of Catholic church is very much at stake due to the controversy. Will you step down?

I am fully cooperating with the investigation. Police have found no proof against me yet, except the letter from her. Still, people are creating stories about me. Our law insists that one is innocent unless proven guilty. But that is not happening in my case. Where is justice for me?