'No case for discharge,' SC dismisses rape-accused Franco Mulakkal's plea
The Court-of-india'>Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea filed by former Bishop Franco Mulakkal seeking directions to discharge him in the nun rape case. The apex court observed that there was no case to drop the charges against him. Mulakkal, the former Bishop of Jalandhar diocese, had allegedly raped a nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016. Here are more details.
There is no merit in your plea, SC observed
An SC bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde, dismissed Mulakkal's plea seeking discharge. Advocate Vrinda Grover appeared for the rape victim. The CJI reportedly said, "You don't have a case. There is no merit in your plea." In his plea, Mulakkal had challenged a Kerala High Court order rejecting his plea seeking to drop charges of rape against him.
Mulakkal claimed innocence; said he was implicated
Mulakkal had also petitioned that he is innocent and that he was implicated after he questioned the financial dealings of the victim nun. However, the prosecution held that there was strong evidence against Mulakkal and that he was moving frequent pleas to delay the trial.
Nun leveled allegations of repeated rape in 2018
In June 2018, the nun, who is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab, had alleged that Mulakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. After protests broke out, Mulakkal was arrested and charged with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex, and criminal intimidation. He spent nearly 40 days in jail before receiving conditional bail.
Mulakkal failed to appear in court; bail canceled
On July 13, a local court in Kottayam canceled the bail granted to Mulakkal and issued a non-bailable warrant after he failed to appear in court 14 consecutive times. Mulakkal's counsel claimed that he was based in a COVID-19 containment zone in Jalandhar, but the claim was countered by the prosecution. He then claimed to be in self-quarantine and eventually tested positive for COVID-19.