Probe in right direction, says HC; bishop arrest unlikely soon
Kerala

Probe in right direction, says HC; bishop arrest unlikely soon

The arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal may not happen immediately and Kerala High Court today observed that the investigation was satisfactory and there was no need to engage any other agency.

A division bench while considering a public interest litigation seeking arrest of the bishop accused of raping a nun said it was up to the police to decide whether the arrest should be made. Applying pressure on police would not help the investigation which was going on satisfactorily, it added.

The police submitted a 27-page affidavit where it said the delay in the case as also the arrest was due to contradictions in the statements of witnesses, the nun and the bishop.

The court felt that this was normal and the petitioners needed to be ‘patient’. It added that punishment was more important than arrest. It was not possible to force the probe officer to arrest the bishop which had to be left to the discretion of the official.

It also felt the evidence collected by the police were at a 'safe distance’ from the accused and the rights of all, including the accused should be protected.

The affidavit of the police submitted as the court had had sought details of the action taken so far said the probe team had interrogated bishop Franco on August 13 at the Bishop House in Jalandhar.

There were contradictions in the statements and had to be cleared. A notice had been sent to the bishop, summoning him for further questioning, the police said. Also, sufficient security had been provided to the nun and the witnesses.

The next hearing in the case will be on September 23.