Indian bishop arrested on charges of raping nun

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun is escorted by police outside a crime branch office on the outskirts of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala India

He was escorted by a security team.

Mulakkal, who heads the diocese of Jalandhar, wrote to the Vatican on Sunday asking to step down temporarily as protests and calls for his arrest grew.

In her complaint to the Kottayam police in June, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions.

Mulakkal, who is the bishop of the northern Indian city of Jalandhar, has denied the accusations.

The announcement came even as the senior Catholic priest is being questioned by the Special Investigation Team for the second day here Thursday.

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Kottayam Superintendent of Police Hari Sankar said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is probing the case chose to complete the interrogation on Friday.

Police sources said while Mulakkal stuck to his stand that he did not rape the nun, he was arrested following contradictions in his statements, circumstantial evidence, statements of witnesses, and the nun's statement under Section 164 of the CrPC.

Police in India are now investigating the charges of rape, illegal confinement, unnatural sex and intimidation. In the letter, Mulakkal said he needed time to fight his case and to travel to Kerala, where he is being interrogated by the police. Franco Mulakkal had last week handed over administrative responsibility of the Jalandhar diocese to a junior priest in his absence ahead of his Kerala visit. "We are very happy. the Vatican has finally heard our prayers", said one of the nuns. She said she had to approach the police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.

"He is charged with rape", said Kochi's inspector general of police, Vijay Sakhare. A bishop is interrogated over a sexual abuse complaint for the first time in India.

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