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Rape accused Franco Mulakkal gets rousing reception in Jalandhar

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Jalandhar, Oct 17: Roman Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal, who faces allegations of raping a nun, received a rousing welcome from his supporters when he reached Jalandhar after being released on bail by a Kerala court.

Franco Mulakkal

Mulakkal smiled as followers showered rose petals on him. Till a few weeks ago, he held charge as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese. The bishop, who was escorted by Punjab police personnel, did not talk to the media.

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 on charges of raping a nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploiting her on many occasions.

Mulakkal, who pleaded not guilty, was granted bail on his second attempt. In his petition, he claimed he was kept in police remand for almost 30 days and had cooperated with the investigation proceedings as well.

However, his initial bail application was rejected by the court, based on the prosecution's advice that releasing the bishop would result in subverting the case by influencing the witnesses.

Besides, the police also opposed the bail application, saying the investigation was still proceeding in the case.

While granting bail, the court directed Mulakkal to surrender his passport and not to enter Kerala except for appearing before the probe officer once every two weeks. The condition will be applicable till a chargesheet is filed.

A large number of people, including his supporters and independent MLA P C George, greeted the 54-year-old clergyman as he came out of the jail. A prayer meeting was held in front of the jail in anticipation of his release.

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