Jalandhar bishop hands over charge; temporary, says Franco

Jalandhar bishop hands over charge; temporary, says Franco

Agency News

The charge of Jalandhar bishop has been given to senior priest and vicar general Fr Mathew Kandathil since Franco Mulakkal has to be in Kerala for questioning by police on September 19 in connection with the charge of raping a nun.

According to his statement to the diocese, this handing over charge is temporary as it is the practice to hand over charge when the bishop leaves the diocese. He also claimed that he was innocent. The probe team confirmed that the summons notice had been received by the bishop. Fr. Joseph Thekkumkattil and Fr. Subin Thekkedath will also help Fr. Mathew Kokkandathil to carry out the new responsibility, explains the circular sent by the Bishop.

It had undertaken a marathon nine-hour questioning of Franco in Jalandhar on August 14. In an affidavit, police told the High Court as part of review of action taken in the case after the questioning in Jalandhar that notice was sent on Wednesday itself. It wanted to clear discrepancies in the statements of the bishop, the victim and the witnesses.

Action is expected after the questioning and it is perceived that the handing over charge may not remain temporary.