Kerala HC satisfied with police probe into nun rape case

The Kerala high court on Thursday expressed satisfaction over the police investigation in the case of alleged rape of a nun by a Roman Catholic bishop.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and A K Jayasankaran Nambiar was considering three separate petitions alleging that the police investigation in the case against Jalandhar diocese Bishop Franco Mulakkal was ‘ineffective‘.

One petitioner has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case.

Asking the petitioners to have some patience as shown by the nun in the case, the bench said the petitions would be considered after interrogation of the bishop by the Investigation Team on September 19.

 

It then posted the case for September 24.

On September 10, the court had sought to know the steps taken by the state government to ensure the safety and security of the nun.

During the hearing on Thursday, the bench observed that if a hasty investigation was conducted, the accused would be allowed to go scot-free.

Noting that the issue should not be precipitated, it pointed out that there was nothing alarming in the investigation by the state police.

The alleged incident took place some years back and it was quite natural that the probe was taking time, it said.

Earlier, Director General of Prosecution handed over the report of investigation to the court in a sealed cover.

The police informed the high court that sufficient protection would be provided to the nun.

The arrest of the bishop can be made only after his interrogation, they said.

The police further submitted that there were contradictions in the statements of the victim, witnesses and the bishop, and therefore, the priest needed to interrogated further.

The Kerala Police had on Wednesday summoned the bishop to appear before it on September 19 in connection with the probe amid mounting pressure for action against him and continuing protests.

Inspector General of police Vijay Sakhare, who reviewed the investigation into the case, had said the delay in completing the investigation was due to ‘contradictions‘ in the statements given by the victim, witnesses and the accused.

The Kerala government has made it clear that it stood with the protesting nuns and there was no need for them to be anxious, reiterating that the investigation was going on in the ‘right direction‘.

The nun had accused the clergyman of sexually assaulting her repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.