Kochi: The Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on Tuesday directed Fr Paul Thelakkat and Fr Antony Kallookkaran, first and fourth accused respectively in the case pertaining to forging of bank documents to defame Cardinal George Alenc-herry, to be present before investigating officers between May 30 and June 5.
The court, which considered their anticipatory bail applications, posted the petitions to June 7 on an assurance given by the prosecution that they will not be arrested till that date. The court also imposed strict conditions for questioning saying that they can be questioned between 10 am and 4 pm giving them sufficient interval. The lawyer for the accused will not be allowed inside the questioning room. The priests should not be physically dealt with during questioning.
Counsel for the accused said that the third accused, Aditya Zacharia Valavi, was threatened by the police to depose against the priests.
There was no evidence with the police against the priests and that they were being made accused based on allegations. Hence they should be granted anticipatory bail, counsel argued.
However, the prosecution said that the documents were forged and sent to the synod to oust the Cardinal from the post and that it amounts to cheating and betrayal. Indian Catholic Forum vice-president Binu Chacko, who impleaded in the case on Monday, also raised the same points.
The prosecution has taken the stand that there are economic interests in defaming the Cardinal and bringing him under pressure. The accused who have tremendous clout do not allow to bring these aspects before the law. They do not co-operate with the investigation and hence taking them into custody was needed for conducting proper investigation, the prosecution submitted....