MUMBAI, India — The brother of the nun who accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape said he was “shocked” the prelate was released on bail in India.
The High Court of the Indian state of Kerala granted bail on Oct. 15, but under conditions, including asking the bishop not to enter Kerala after his release from the sub-jail in Kottayam and to surrender his passport. He has also been asked to present himself before the police in the state of Punjab – the location of his diocese – every fortnight. He also has to appear before the investigating officers when requested by them.
Mulakkal was arrested on Sept. 21 after a months-long investigation.
The 43-year-old nun made the formal police complaint against the bishop in June, claiming he raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the Punjab-based Missionaries of Jesus congregation, but said the attacks happened in Kuravilangad, the location of one of the order’s convents in the southern state of Kerala.
Mulakkal vehemently denies the charges, and claims the nun is retaliating because he initiated an investigation against her for an affair she allegedly had with a married man.
“I am shocked to hear that he got bail, he is a rape accused. Police found all the evidence against him. Had he been innocent, there would not have been so many evidences against him,” the nun’s brother told the ANI news agency.
“He has no repentance, no remorse, and he is not even sad, that shows what kind of indecent man he is. He is trying to show that he is innocent, but the truth is in everyone’s mind. He is not a religious person; he is not even a decent person. He does not deserve to be a bishop,” he said.
Mulakkal arrived back in his home diocese on Wednesday to a hero’s welcome, with supporters throwing rose petals at his feet and placing garlands of flowers around his neck.
“The prayers of the people of Punjab supported me. I believe that they will pray for me even in the days to come. I thank everyone. Investigation is underway, and I am co-operating. I’m a law-abiding citizen and I trust the legal system of the country,” the bishop told reporters.
The nun’s brother said he was disappointed with the reception Mulakkal received.
“I am saddened to see the grand welcome he received after being released. Being a religious figure, he should be ashamed of himself. He seems to be unapologetic,” he told ANI.
On Sep. 20, Pope Francis temporarily relieved Mulakkal of pastoral duties in Jalandhar, naming Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias as apostolic administrator.
After his release, Mulakkal reiterated he welcomed the chance to refute the charges against him.
“They have questioned me in Jalandhar and in Kerala. I have cooperated with the police and have answered all questions. I now have the chance to prove my innocence in the court of law,” Mulakkal told India Today TV.