A court in Kerala on Friday acquitted Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the charges of raping a nun in a convent in Kerala.
The prosecution failed to produce evidence against the accused, therefore the Additional District and Sessions Court II acquitted the bishop. The prosecution has said it will be moving for appeal against the verdict.
Kottayam district additional sessions court judge G Gopakumar pronounced the verdict on Wednesday after a trial of 105 days.
After the verdict, Kottayam SP Harishankar, who led the probe in the case, said the prosecution were expecting the accused to be punished.
“We’ve already decided to hold a meeting of the probe and prosecution team and we will be moving for appeal," he said as quoted by News18.
The senior nun had filed a police complaint with Kuravilangad Police against Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, Punjab for allegedly sexually abusing her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 in Kerala.
The nun also alleged that the Catholic Church ignored the complaint against Bishop Franco Mulakkal and acted in a “surreptitious" manner when it was brought to the notice of its hierarchy.
The charge sheet against Mulakkal named 83 witnesses, including the Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and 22 nuns.
Earlier, the police had registered a case against the nun and her relatives on a complaint from the 57-year-old Bishop. According to the police, they received the bishop’s complaint first and the nun filed her complaint a day later.
“We have received both the complaints. First, we received the complaint from the bishop and then the complaint from the nun reached us. We have registered FIRs in both cases. The Vaikom deputy SP has been entrusted with the inquiry," Kottayam police chief Harishankar told News18 in 2018.
Image credit: ANI