Former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was accused of sexually assaulting a Kerala nun, has tested positive for COVID-19, an officer said on Tuesday (July 14).
Father Peter, Mulakkal’s PRO said the health of the bishop was “not so good”.
This comes after a local court on Monday (July 13) cancelled the bail granted to Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun in Kerala, for failing to appear for the trial in the case and issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The Bishop was not present in the Additional Sessions Court during the hearing. Mulakkals counsel informed the court that his client could not appear as he had been in self-quarantine due to his primary contact with a COVID-infected person.
During the previous hearing on July 1 also he had failed to appear before the Court. His counsel had then submitted that the priest could not appear as he was stuck in a COVID-19 containment zone at Jalandhar in Punjab.
The prosecution on Monday countered the claim by the accused, saying the place where he lived in Jalandhar was not a COVID-19 containment zone on July 1.
The court cancelled his bail after that, considering the prosecution argument that the accused was trying to delay the trial, and posted the case to August 13.
The Kerala High Court on July 7 had dismissed a petition seeking to discharge Mulakkal from the sexual assault case filed against him by the nun. It had directed the deposed Bishop of Jalandhar diocese to stand for trial in the rape case, which was registered on a complaint filed by the nun of same diocese in Kerala.
The court dismissed the plea by the bishop, admitting the prosecution argument that there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the rape case. The senior priest of the Roman Catholic Church had filed the revision petition following the dismissal of his discharge plea by the trial court in Kottayam in March this year.
The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district. In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the Bishop between 2014 and 2016.
The bishop, who was arrested by the Special Investigation team which probed the case, has been charged with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex, and criminal intimidation.
(With inputs from agencies)