The family of a senior Catholic nun who was sexually exploited allegedly by Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the latin Catholic Church’s Jalandhar Diocese has alleged that the prelate had offered to give Rs 5 crore and a top position to the nun in her congregation if she and her family stopped pursuing the rape case against him.
The Bishop had conveyed the offer to the nun and family a few days ago through a friend in Kalady near Kochi, according to the nun’s brother.
He had already reported this to K Subhash, Deputy Superintendent of Police at Vaikom, Kottayam who is leading the Kerala Police team probing the sex abuse case, he told the media.
The Bishop had offered to give Rs 5 crore and any top position of her choice for the nun in the Missionaries of Jesus Congregation, which is under the control of the Jalandhar Diocese, if she and the family were ready to stop pursuing the case and to not hand over more evidences against the prelate to the police or the media, the nun’s brother said.
When he refused the offer and made it clear that the family was determined to go ahead with the case, the Bishop’s messenger withdrew from the bid, the nun’s brother said. He said the Bishop had made the offer after an audio clip of a phone conversation between the nun and Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, appeared in the media.
The audio clip had strongly suggested that the Cardinal was not talking the truth when he said the nun had not complained to him about her rape allegedly by Bishop Mulakkal. He had admitted that the nun had met him but claimed she had not brought to his attention the complaint against the Bishop. Instead, she had spoken of some problems in her convent, he had said.
Admitting that he himself had released the audio-clip of the phone conversation between the Cardinal and the nun to the media a few days ago, her brother said he was compelled to do this after Mar Alencherry repeated his claim that his sister had not told him about the persecution she had allegedly suffered in the hands of Bishop Mulakkal.
The nun’s brother also said that the family was planning to lodge a complaint directly with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the delay from the part of the police in arresting the Bishop despite the fact that there were sufficient evidences against him. Bishop Mulakkal is said to have close connections with top political leaders in Jalandhar, Delhi as well as Kerala.
According to the nun’s complaint to the police, the Jalandhar Bishop had sexually abused her using threats 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The prelate had first raped her in a guest house attached to her convent at Kuravilangad in Kottayam district on May 5, 2014 when he had visited Kerala for attending a Church programme in Thrissur district, she said in the complaint.
However, a complaint has been filed for the Bishop with the police in which it has been alleged that he was the victim of a conspiracy of the nun who had been threatening to trap him in a sex scandal as an act of revenge for taking disciplinary action against her over a complaint from a woman who said the nun had some relationship with her husband.
Police will soon be questioning this woman and her husband and they have asked them to be in Kottayam for that. According to sources in the police, the investigators would go to Jalandhar to question the Bishop and to arrest him if needed only after completing the investigations over both the complaints.