The prelate has repeatedly said that the charges against him are groundless and fabricated. The former bishop of Jalandhar risks imprisonment if found guilty. The court extended his bail until the next hearing on 6 January.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The trial of Mgr Franco Mulakkal, former bishop of Jalandhar (Indian Punjab), opened this morning in Kottayam, Kerala, southern India.
The prelate is accused of raping a nun, a superior of the Missionaries of Jesus, on several occasions between 2014 to 2016 and “abusing his dominant position".
The case came to the fore in September 2018, when five nuns held a protest demanding justice for the alleged victim. This was followed by Bishop Mulakkal’s arrest.
After three weeks in custody, the prelate was released on bail awaiting trial. If found guilty, Mgr Mulakkal risks life imprisonment, but he has always said that he was innocent.
In order to defend himself in court, he resigned from his post and has insisted that the charges against him are groundless and fabricated.
Conversely, the bishop accuses the nun of engaging in an illicit affair and concocting the case against him out of revenge because he had removed her from the office of superior.
In his diocese, the prelate is very much loved by members of his community. A group of supporters accompanied him to the court after his morning prayers.
The court extended his bail until the next hearing, scheduled for 6 January.