Updated: July 14, 2020 6:39:35 pm
Former Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun in Kerala, has tested positive for novel coronavirus in Jalandhar in Punjab where he is based. Mulakkal’s test results returned positive days after one of the members of his legal counsel was also detected with the infection.
Reports say that the former bishop had tested negative in the first test. But when symptoms persisted, he was tested again for which results have now come back positive. It’s unclear whether Mulakkal will be admitted to a hospital in Jalandhar or brought to Kerala in connection with the rape case.
On Monday, a court in Kerala had cancelled the bail of Mulakkal after he failed to appear on numerous occasions before the court despite strict orders. A non-bailable arrest warrant has also been issued against him. The special prosecutor, on behalf of the police, had informed the court that the former bishop was trying to delay the proceedings of the case. He pointed out that the bishop had falsely claimed that his house was located in a containment zone in Jalandhar and therefore couldn’t travel to appear before the court.
Mulakkal, who was granted bail in 2018, is accused of raping a nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus several times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kottayam district in Kerala.
The 56-year-old was arrested following huge protests in Kerala and spent nearly 40 days in jail before getting bail.
There are also allegations that he, through the Church, intimidated witnesses and applied pressure on others to change their testimonies. Mulakkal has denied all charges.
This is the first time in India that rape charges have been framed against a Catholic Bishop. Last week, the Kerala High Court dismissed the discharge plea of Mulakkal, insisting that he must face trial.
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