Kottayam: A Catholic priest accused of raping a Bangladeshi woman has surrendered before a court in Vaikom in the Kottayam district of Kerala.
Father Thomas Thanninilkkumthadathil had gone into hiding after the woman filed a police complaint on February 15.
However, the 35-year-old priest surrendered a day later as police intensified the search.
The Palai diocesan priest appeared before the magistrate in Vaikom with his lawyer. The court remanded him in 14-day judicial custody.
In her complaint, the 42-year-old UK-based Bangladeshi woman alleged that the Syro-Malabar priest raped her after befriending her on Facebook, police said.
The priest allegedly committed the offence after promising that he would marry her. The incident occurred in January when Father Thomas was serving as the vicar of Perumthururth parish near Kaduthuruthy. Pala diocese on February 15 dismissed him from pastoral service and “all stages of priesthood” following the incident.
An explanation was sought from him after summoning him to the diocese on February 13 when the church authorities came to know about his “misconduct”.
The diocese has said it would fully cooperate with the legal action initiated against the priest.