Kerala Police Questions Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mullakkal For Sexually Exploiting A Nun

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New Delhi: The Kerala police quizzed Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mullakkal, who is accused of sexually exploiting a nun, for almost seven hours. The accused was not yet arrested and questioned due to the matter being sensitive.

“The first round of questioning is over. We have asked him to come again on Thursday. He is cooperating with the (investigating) team well. Since it is an ongoing investigation, we cannot reveal anything more now,” said Kottayam police superintendent Harishankar.

Mullakkal repeatedly pleaded his innocence, telling his interrogators that he had not gone to Kerala’s Kuravilangad convent on the days when the nun has accused him of assaulting her, officials aware of the developments said. His lawyer and other priests from Jalandhar accompanied Mullakkal when he came for the questioning.

Activists showed Mullakkal black flags when he came out after questioning in Tripunithura on the outskirts of Kochi.

The Kerala police have drawn flak for delaying Mullakkal’s arrest. The nun had pointed out that she had been questioned seven times while the accused just once. She has accused Mulakkal of using his influence. Mulakkal, 54, has rejected the allegations, calling them a conspiracy against the church.

In her complaint, the 43-year-old nun said that the bishop sexually assaulted her after summoning her on the pretext of discussing an important issue in 2014. The abuse continued for two more years, she alleged.

The nun last week wrote to the Vatican Ambassador in India, narrating how the church had ignored her plight while calling Mullakkal a predator.

Sister Anupama, one of the five Missionaries of Jesus staging a sit-in against the alleged police inaction in the case in Kochi for 12 days, said the police seem to be giving Mullakkal enough time to influence witnesses and fabricate evidence. The nun’s sister, who has been on a hunger strike over the alleged police inaction, was shifted to a hospital after her condition deteriorated. She vowed to continue her fast.

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