Kochi: The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) has given an ultimatum to its member Sr Lissy Vadakkel, one of the witnesses in the sexual assault case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, to leave the convent in Kerala and report to the provincial house in Vijayawada by March 31.
A letter dated March 23 sent by Sr Alphonsa Abraham, provincial superior of the congregation, says she can ask for an extension of one more month to continue her stay at the Jyothi Bhavan in Muvattupuzha to take care of her ailing mother. Sr Vadakkel had come to Kerala from Vijayawada to meet her and expressed fear for her life as she had testified against the bishop.
The letter says it has no basis as the bishop is far away from Vijayawada. It also denies the allegation that the congregation had asked her not to testify against him. “I deny the testimonial given by Sister Lissy to media that I am against her giving statement against Bishop Franco. In the first place, I was unaware that she had given a statement under section 164 of CrPc. I have also not questioned Sister Lissy’s constitutional right to give such a declaration and will never discourage her from being the witness in the case,” it says. Sr Abraham, however, says that the FCC does not want Sr Lissy to continue staying in Kerala as the trial of the case has not started.
“The chargesheet in the case has not been filed, so once it is done, the competent judge will assess whether there are (sic) enough evidence to start the trial. When the trial begins, the competent authority will summon you in advance so that you can travel to give your testimony,” says the provincial superior. She adds that Sr Lissy’s needs would be taken care of by her superiors once she returns to Vijayawada....