KOCHI, Oct 10 2018: Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested on September 21st for allegedly raping a senior nun in a convent at Kottayam, has approached the Kerala High Court again seeking bail. His first bail plea was dismissed by the court on October 3rd.
While seeking bail for the second time, the bishop argues that the circumstances pointed out by prosecution to oppose his first plea do not exist now.
In the second bail plea filed through advocate Vipin Narayanan, the bishop contends that statements of material witnesses have already been recorded under Section 164 CrPC. Therefore, prosecution’s apprehension that witnesses may be influenced doesn’t have much significance at this stage, the petition said.
The applicant also contends that he is no longer in charge as the bishop of Jalandhar Diocese and is therefore not in a superior or dominating position to influence witnesses. Witnesses are also provided round-the-clock protection, the bishop points out citing prosecution’s earlier submission.
His visit to a medical college following his arrest on complaint of chest pain is cited by the bishop in his plea as proof of deteriorating health condition so as to warrant a bail.
While denying bail to the bishop a week ago, the court had stated that investigation is still in the early stages and the apprehension of the prosecution that the bishop and his men would manage to subvert the investigation by influencing witnesses and tampering with the evidence cannot be nonchalantly brushed aside