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Home » Kerala » Court Acquits Ex-Bishop Franco Mulakkal In Rape Case On Jan 14; A Timeline Of Events

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Court Acquits Ex-Bishop Franco Mulakkal In Rape Case On Jan 14; A Timeline Of Events

A special Kottayam court acquitted Franco Mulakkal, who was accused in the nun rape case.

Three years on, the court will finally deliver its verdict on January 14, 2022. (Photo Credit: Pexels)

New Delhi: A special court in Kottayam on Friday (Jan 14) pronounced its judgment acquitting former bishop Franco Mulakkal in a three-year-old case in which he was accused of raping a nun. The Additional District And Sessions Court in Kottayam gave its verdict in the case which gained national media attention for a long. A nun from the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kuravilangad had accused Mulakkal, who was the then Bishop of Jalandhar, of raping her 13 times during his visits to the convent between 2014 and 2016.

The nun had first raised the issue about Mulakkal’s predatory behaviour with several higher officials in the church, including the Pope’s office, but her complaints were ignored by the church authorities. She had later filed a complaint with the police in June 2018. A case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 376 (2) (indulging in sex by exhorting authority), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Later, he was arrested and was subsequently removed from the post of the bishop.

The trial, which began in November 2019, was previously delayed but was finally done on January 10, 2022. Mulakkal’s counsel had requested an in-camera trial and the media was prohibited from reporting details. Three years on, the court finally delivered its verdict on January 14, 2022.

If Mulakkal were found guilty, he would have been awarded a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Here’s a brief timeline of the case:

February 2018: Nun writes to Bishop complaining about Franco Mulakkal

June 27, 2018: Nun lodges complaint before the Kottayam Police

June 28, 2018: FIR registered, charges under IPC 342 and other sections

July 5, 2018: In-camera statement of the nun recorded in the case

August 7, 2018: Kerala HC seeks government response to plea seeking arrest of Franco Mulakkal

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August 8, 2018: SIT reaches Jalandhar to interrogate then Bishop Franco

September 20, 2018: Pope relieves Franco of his pastoral duties

September 21, 2018: Franco is arrested

April 9, 2019: Chargesheet running into 2,000 pages submitted

August 25, 2020: SC dismisses Franco’s discharge plea

September 16, 2020: Trial begins in Additional District Court Kottayam

January 10, 2022: Trial concludes

January 14, 2022: Additional District Court in its verdict acquitted Franco Mulakkal

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