Kerala HC postpones hearing on Bishop Mulakkal's anticipatory bail plea

Kerala High Court to hear the case next on September 25

Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File

The Kerala High Court has postponed hearing on an anticipatory bail plea by Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of sexually assaulting a nun. The high court will next hear the case on September 25.

The bishop moved the anticipatory bail plea apprehending arrest in the non-bailable offence a day before his appearance before the Special Investigation Team of the Kerala Police on Wednesday.

The bishop in his plea to the high court alleged conspiracy behind the case, and said he was cooperating with the investigation. He has also urged the court to consider his plea on Tuesday itself and to prevent arrest till the bail plea was heard.

The nun had accused the clergyman of sexually assaulting her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to the Jalandhar-diocese run convent at Kuruvilangad in Kottayam district.

The bishop has, however, dismissed the allegations as 'baseless and concocted.'

The nun had recently sought urgent intervention of the Vatican for justice and demanded the bishop's removal as the head of the Jalandhar diocese, questioning why the Church was 'closing its eyes to the truth' when she had mustered courage to make public her suffering.

She has alleged that Bishop Mulakkal was using 'political and money power' to 'bury' the case against him.

The bishop has claimed there were "several contradictions" in the evidence collected against him by the police probing the case.

"I leave everything to the hands of God as I await the result of the findings of the team probing the allegation," he had said in a circular last week.

He had also written to the Pope offering to 'step aside temporarily' as bishop of the Jalandhar diocese.