Police in the south Indian state of Kerala have arrested a Roman Catholic bishop accused of raping a nun, a day after the Vatican accepted the bishop's request to be temporarily relieved of his duties.
Citing convention, legal experts said police may not arrest Mulakkal, who recently stepped aside as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, since his anticipatory bail plea is pending before the high court.
Police sources said while Mulakkal, during interrogation, stuck to his claim that he did not rape the nun, he was arrested following contradictions in his statements, circumstantial evidence, statements of witnesses, and the nun's statement under Section 164 of the CrPC. On Thursday, activists staged a protest outside the Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, demanding that the prelate be arrested.
He said the investigating officer was free to take a call on the issue.
The bishop wrote to Pope Francis days after he transferred his administrative responsibilities at the Jalandhar Diocese to a senior official.
The Indian nun accused the bishop of raping her four years ago and then sexually abusing her multiple times over the following two years. KC George claimed that photographer has been intimated and forced give a statement that the victim seemed boring and upset. We are with the victim.
The Catholic Church in India has reportedly "reprimanded" nuns who have participated in a sit-in protest for the alleged victim. However, their move did attract some strong criticism as The Missionaries of Jesus congregation, on September 10 condemned the protest by the five nuns. "We suspect he used money for personal purposes", he said. "We can not crucify an innocent soul based on such allegations", reported News18. "Perhaps the police are under pressure", he said.
While the cleric has been served a notice to appear before a probe team for interrogation on September 19, the investigation has already been stretched to over 70 days.