Father Antony Madassery, a close aide of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was arrested in Jalandhar by the Enforcement Directorate for possessing unaccounted money. Three others were also arrested along with the priest last night.
Rs 10 crore in cash was reportedly seized from Fr Antony's residence at Partappura near Jalandhar. The priest could not account for the money to the investigators and hence the money was seized and action initiated.
Earlier, it was said that Fr Antony had directly intervened to hush up the rape allegations against the bishop last year.
It is not known whether any cash was recovered from the other three arrested.
Punjab Police accompanied the ED officials during the raid.
The Jalandhar diocese has so far not reacted to the developments.
Mulakkal was arrested on September 21, 2018, on charges of rape, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation and illegal connement, three months after a nun led a complaint in this regard. Intense protests by her fellow nuns in Ernakulam had forced the authorities to take action.
In the complaint led on June 28, 2018, the nun had claimed she was raped 13 times from 2014 to 2016 at Kuravilangad in Kerala's Kottayam district.
The nun said in her complaint that she had to approach the police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints.
Mulakkal, however, has denied the charges as 'baseless and concocted,' insisting she levelled them as the Catholic order had rejected her demands for favours.
Mulakkal, who got bail on October 15, received a rousing welcome from his followers in Jalandhar when he reached there.
On October 22, 2018, Fr Kuriakose Kattuthara, another priest of the Jalandhar diocese, who had recorded a statement against Mulakkal in the case, was found dead in Jalandhar under mysterious circumstances. An investigation was launched after his brother Johny Kattuthara said he suspected foul play in the incident.