Kerala, bishop arrested for rape on bail
by Nirmala Carvalho

Msgr. Franco Mulakkal must remain available to the investigators of the town where the case is open. The prelate must also hand over his passport and report to the police every two weeks.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – There has been a turnaround in the case of the bishop arrested for the alleged rape of a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus. This morning the High Court of Kerala granted Msgr. Franco Mulakkal, outgoing bishop of Jalandhar (in Punjab), release on bail. It is a u-turn compared to the magistrates previous repeated denial of any request for release presented by his  lawyers.

The judges have established precise conditions for his release: Msgr. Mulakkal will have to remain in the district of Kottayam, where the prison in which he was held is located, and will not be able to travel freely in the State of Kerala; he must hand over his passport and must report to the police station every 15 days. Furthermore, he must remain available to investigators and submit to any questioning, if requested.

The prelate was jailed on September 21 last. The accusations against Msgr. Mulakkal dates back to last July, but his case broke in mid-September following protests by some sisters in Kerala. He is accused of multiple sexual violence against a nun, but has always reiterated his innocence. In turn, he claims that the allegations are motivated by personal envies of the religious, whom he removed from the role of superior of the congregation in Punjab.

In all this time, in Msgr. Mulakkal continued to pray and claim innocence. In a note from the president of the bishops, Card. Oswald Gracias, has invited all to pray for all the people involved in the affair.