Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has granted permission to appeal against the trial court verdict that acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the nun rape case. The order was issued by the state home department, reportedly after receiving legal advice from the Advocate General.
Franco Mulakkal, 57, was accused of raping the nun multiple times during his visit to a convent in this district between 2014 and 2016 when he was the Bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. Mulakkal was charged with rape, illegal confinement and intimidation of the nun. She said she went to the police only after complaining repeatedly to church authorities. Eventually, a group of fellow nuns launched unprecedented public protests to demand Mulakkal’s arrest in 2018. He was detained but released on bail after a few weeks.
On January 14, 2022, the district Additional Sessions Court acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the nun rape case. The verdict came after 105 days of trial and Franco was acquitted of all 7 charges as the prosecution failed to produce evidence against the accused. Earlier, the police had submitted a letter to the government requesting to move an appeal against the trial court’s verdict. The government sought AG’s legal advice after considering this. AG clarified that the case has scope for moving appeal following which the home department issued the order.