Kottayam, July 27, 2019: In a major development in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, differences were found in the contents of two DVDs submitted by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Thiruvananthapuram, to the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Pala, and the probe team.
The original DVD, which contains details of the contents of a laptop and mobile phone seized from Franco, submitted to the court has files in three folders. However, in the DVD given to the investigation team, two out of three folders are blank.
The differences were found when the court, on July 26, verified the two DVDs to hand over a copy to the accused’s counsel on their request. Following this, Judicial First Class Magistrate P A Sirajudheen directed the police to get a fresh copy of the original DVD from the FSL. It also posted the case for August 9 for further hearing.
“When some messages were found to be deleted from the laptop and mobile phone, we had earlier requested the court to send the devices for examination in FSL. Since the devices were sent through the court, the original DVD, consisting of the FSL report, was submitted to the court, and we had received its copy. Upon verification of the DVDs in the court today, some differences in the contents were found. We don’t know whether it is a technical error or not. Hence, we are going to submit a request to the FSL to provide a fresh DVD containing all the files,” said M P Mohandas, a sub-inspector in the probe team.
Meanwhile, people supporting the nun, who filed the rape case against Franco, said the differences in the DVDs’ contents were part of the move to sabotage the case.
“We suspect the intention of the accused’s counsel, who repeatedly demanded the prosecution to hand over a copy of the DVD though the court is its custodian. There is a deliberate attempt from the accused’s counsel to delay the case by demanding more copies of documents from the prosecution,” said Shyju Antony, a member of Save Our Sisters Forum.
The prosecution had earlier handed over copies of the chargesheet, statements and other related documents for verification of the accused when Franco appeared before the magistrate on May 10.
source: Indian Express