Franco Mulakkal, who was the former Catholic bishop of Jalandhar, has been acquitted in the nun rape case by the additional sessions court in Kottayam, Kerala.
The former clergyman was accused by a nun of sexually abusing her. She had complained to the police in June 2018. The nun stated that he raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.
The case against Mulakkal was registered in 2018 and trial had begun in November 2019.
It brings to an end a sensational case in Kerala, as Mulakkal became the first bishop in India to be arrested for sexual assault.
The nun had written to the Vatican's ambassador to India in 2018, seeking Vatican's intervention to ensure justice to her. But the bishop slammed the victim alleging that she was backed by those against the church.
The Special Investigation Team which probed the case arrested Mulakkal and charged him under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including punishment for wrongful confinement, unnatural sex, sexual intercourse by person in authority and criminal intimidation.
In his plea, Mulakkal had challenged the High Court order that dismissed his discharge plea but the court asked him to stand for trial.
Ahead of the verdict, security had intensified within and around the court, even as bomb squads were deployed.