No Arrest in Kerala Nun Rape Case 79 Days on, But HC Satisfied With Police Probe
The high court said it was purely for the investigating officer to decide when to take the accused into custody, adding that any pressure may cause the cops to do a “shoddy job” and it may later lead to the accused going scot-free.
File image of Kerala High Court.
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High Court on Thursday expressed satisfaction over the police investigation in the case of alleged rape of a nun by Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and AK Jayasankaran Nambiar was considering three separate petitions alleging that the police investigation in the case was "ineffective" as no arrest has been made even 79 days after the nun filed an FIR.
Dismissing the concerns, the high court said it was purely for the investigating officer to decide when to take the accused into custody. “It is to be left to the discretion of the officer,” the court said, adding that any pressure may cause the cops to do a “shoddy job” and it may later lead to the accused going scot-free.
The court’s observation came after the police filed a progress report of the investigation in a sealed cover. In its report, the police blamed the delay in making the arrest on “discrepancies” in statements by the bishop, the complainant and the witnesses questioned so far.
However, an affidavit filed in the case on August 10 clearly stated that medical examination of the nun had found evidence that she was sexually assaulted and it was sufficient grounds for arrest, Newsminute reported.
The affidavit also stated that during course of investigation, it was revealed that the “accused committed unnatural offences and committed rape repeatedly on different dates between 5/5/2018 and 23/09/2016 on the victim, against the will and consent of her by abusing his dominance over her as Bishop of Jalandhar after confining her in room number 20 of St Francis Mission Home Kuravilangad.”
Protesting the delay in police action, a group of Kerala nuns have been sitting outside the high court since six days now.
But instead of moving to arrest the accused Bishop, the police has summoned him on September 19 for questioning. The HC has posted the case for hearing on September 24.
Police in their affidavit filed on Thursday also told the court they have been proactively providing round-the-clock security outside the nun’s convent since July.
Two cases were before CJ bench. One was filed by George Joseph askign for court monitored probe and protection of the complainant.
During the hearing when one of the petitioners, Rajendran, demanded CBI inquiry in the case, the bench asked him to show “patience” and asked him if he was interested in the arrest or a conviction.
The high court said it was not an easy case and some credit should be given to police for their work. “Investigation took place in five states and seven districts,” it said, adding that case dates back to 2014-2016 and collecting evidences in old cases is not easy.
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