Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, was granted bail by a court in Kottayam, Kerala, on Friday.
Mulakkal had been arrested in September 2018 in the case. News agency ANI reported, "Additional District Court Judge G. Gopakumar granted Mulakkal bail on fresh sureties. The court also recalled the non-bailable warrant issued against him and cancelled the proceedings against the old sureties and listed the matter for further hearing on August 13."
According to reports, the charge-sheet pertaining to the case against Mulakkal will be read on August 13.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea from Mulakkal to be discharged from the case and directed that he face trial. A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian told the counsel for the bishop that the court is not saying anything on merit but is dismissing the plea on the issue of discharge from the case.
Mulakkal, in his plea, had challenged the Kerala High Court order of July 7, dismissing his discharge plea in the rape case filed by the nun. The Kerala High Court on July 7 rejected his petition seeking discharge in the case. The High Court had noted there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the case.
In her complaint to the police in June 2018, a nun of the Jalandhar Diocese had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the bishop during the period between 2014 and 2016. Mulakkal had claimed the nun was seeking to implicate him after he took action against her over financial irregularities at a convent.
Mulakkal had previously got bail in the case. Mulakkal had first obtained bail in October 2018 after spending around 40 days in jail.
Earlier in July, the district court in Kottayam had cancelled the bail for Mulakkal after he failed to appear for multiple hearings and issued a non-bailable warrant for him. Mulakkal tested positive for COVID-19 soon after this.