Kottayam: The chargesheet against Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the alleged nun rape case was submitted to the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Pala, by investigating officer K.Subash, deputy superintendent of police, on Tuesday.
The chargesheet with statements and documents covers 2,000 pages in five volumes. There are a total of 83 witnesses, including Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt of Pala diocese, Bhagalpur Bishop Kurian Valiyakandathil and Bishop Sebastian Vadakkel of the diocese of Ujjain. There are also 25 nuns and 11 priests as witnesses.
The statements of 10 most crucial witnesses were recorded by seven magistrates who will also turn up as witnesses in the case. Along with the chargesheet, 101 documents will also be submitted to the court.
The bishop has been arraigned under Indian Penal Code sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (2k) (rape on a woman incapable of giving consent), 376 (2n) (causing grievous bodily harm during rape), 376 (c) (a) 377 (unnatural offence) and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation). If proved guilty, the bishop may get life-term imprisonment or a minimum imprisonment of not less than 10 years.
Bishop Franco was taken into police custody on September 21 last year.
To prevent the witnesses from turning hostile, the statements were video graphed. Further, a detailed reference of all the pieces of evidence found against the accused during the investigation was submitted in a report along with the chargesheet.
The court is slated to issue summons to the bishop after verifying the chargesheet . Since the charges entail a punishment of more than year, the case will be committed to the principal sessions court in Kottayam within a month or two, said Jithesh J. Babu, special prosecutor.