New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of two priests of Malankara Orthodox Church, who were alleged to have blackmailed and sexually assaulted a married woman in Kerala.
Dismissing the applications, a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan directed Father Sony Varghese, the main accused in the case, and Father Jaise K George to surrender before the trial court by August 13 and then seek regular bail.
The court during the course of hearing of the applications had granted them protection from arrest but on Monday it asked them to surrender.
The four priests Abraham Varghese (A1), Job Mathew (A2), Dr Johnson Mathew (A3) and Jaise K George (A4) belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church were booked by the state crime branch for allegedly raping and molesting the woman devotee.
Father Johnson Mathew and Father Job Mathew are already on bail.
The bench after taking on record the status report filed by the state government observed that this was not a fit case for grant of anticipatory bail.
On behalf of the two priests, it was submitted that it was consensual sex and there was no rape. But the Kerala police contended that it was rape and opposed grant of anticipatory bail when the probe has not been completed.
The bench asked the two priests to cooperate with the probe and surrender their mobile phones as well. The bench however made it clear that after they surrender and file regular bail petitions, the trial court shall consider them on the same date.
In the FIR, the four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church have been accused of blackmailing and sexually abusing a married woman for a decade. The woman’s husband, who came to know about the crime in February this year, filed a complaint against the priests before the Crime Branch, which is investigating the case.
In the complaint, Father Abraham Varghese has been accused of sexually abusing the woman since she was 16.
The woman, in her statement to the Crime Branch, had said that she was in a relationship with him in 1999. At that time, she was 16 years old. He went on to become a priest but forced her to continue the relationship, even though they were married to separate individuals....