Rape accused bishop Franco Mulakkal arrested

Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of rape by a nun, was arrested on Friday. The arrest came after he was interrogated for three days. Mulakkal will be produced in a court in Pala, Kottayam district.

The probe team has been grilling the bishop at a special hi-tech facility at Thripunithura since September 19.

The Special Investigation Team reportedly took the nun's statement again on Friday at a convent at Kuravilangad in Kottayam.

Earlier, amid the continuing outrage over the alleged repeated sexual assault of the nun, the Kerala government said the probe by the SIT was proceeding in the "right direction" and that justice will be done. "Investigation is going in the right direction. The government is with the victim. The government is with the nuns staging the protest. Certainly the government will take all necessary steps to identify the culprits and bring the guilty to book," senior Kerala minister E.P. Jayarajan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The minister's statement came a day after CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the protest by nuns in front of the High Court for Mulakkal's arrest was "ill-motivated".

Mulakkal was divested of his pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Missionaries of Jesus by the Vatican on September 20. A communique from the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to India said that the Pope received the request to relieve Mulakkal temporarily. “Having considered the circumstances, the Holy Father has accepted this request of Bishop Mulakkal and has appointed Rt Rv Agnelo Rufino Gracias, titular bishop of Molicunza and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Bombay, as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Jalandhar,” the communique read.