Kochi: Bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping Kerala nun has been granted conditional bail by the Kerala High Court on Monday.
Granting the bail, the high court directed accused Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal to surrender his passport and not to enter Kerala state except for appearing before the probe officer once in two weeks on Saturdays. This condition would be applicable till a charge sheet is filed in the case.
The bail comes after three weeks of his arrest.
The 54-year-old bishop had approached the high court last month after a magistrate’s court in Pala rejected his bail application, in which he stated that he had been implicated for taking action against the nun.
Earlier on October 3, the Kerala High Court had dismissed the bail plea of the bishop while accepting the prosecution argument that the accused, holding a high position in society will try to influence witnesses in the case, if granted bail.
Bishop Mulakkal is currently under judicial remand in a sub-jail in Pala in Kottayam district.
The police had earlier opposed bail on grounds that the case was still progressing after the arrest of Bishop Malakkal on September 21.
Bishop Mulakkal was arrested after three days of questioning by the Kerala police team over the sexual assault allegations.
The Kerala government had assured the probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) was proceeding in the "right direction" and that justice will be done.
In her complaint in June, a Kerala nun had alleged that she was sexually abused by Franco Mulakkal 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kottayam.
The nun who wrote to the Vatican earlier had said she was forced to approach the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the bishop.
However, Bishop Mulakkal has denied the charges as "baseless and concocted," insisting she levelled those as the Catholic order had rejected her demand for favours. He had last month stepped aside as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese.