New Delhi: The Vatican on Thursday relieved Bishop Franco Mulakkal of his pastoral duties in Diocese of Jalandhar. As per reports, this was done at Mulakkal’s request. The same was confirmed as a letter signed by Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India was found.
Mulakkal had already temporarily stepped down from the post he held in the Diocese of Jalandhar and had said that another priest, Mathew Kokkandam, would fill in for him. Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the accused in the Kerala nun abuse case, stepped down on September 17 as he needs more time to fight his case and travel to the state, the Jalandhar Diocese. The administration said that Bishop Mulakkal had written to the Pope on September 16 and expressed his “desire to step down temporarily from the responsibilities of the diocese”.
The bishop who is being interrogated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Kerala police from September 19, was grilled today as well. Kerala DGP Loknath Behra said a decision on apprehending bishop Mulakkal would be taken in a day or two. Following a seven-hour interrogation on Wednesday, the SIT of Kerala police resumed questioning the bishop today.
Mulakkal has filed an anticipatory bail petition in the Kerala High Court and has denied the allegations against him. “I feel there are people who are against the church, they’re using these sisters. This is a conspiracy and several people are taking advantage of the situation, they are putting sisters at the forefront,” Franco Mulakkal had said.
While the case is filled with errors in statements made by witnesses- the accused and the complainant, Inspector General Vijay Sakre had earlier told the media, “This is an old case and is based primarily on oral statements. It is very difficult to gather scientific and technical evidence. We have to ensure that contradictions are ironed out suitably.”