Indian bishop accused of rape has not turned over key evidence

Franco Mulakkal CNA Bishop Franco Mulakkal. CNA file photo.

The Indian bishop charged with serially raping a nun has not yet produced a laptop that government investigators say could provide key evidence in his case.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, head of the Diocese of Jullundur, was arrested Sept. 21. He is suspected of having raped a member of the Missionaries of Jesus more than a dozen times over two years. The nun alleges that she first was raped by the bishop May 5, 2014.

The bishop claims that the nun accused him of rape as retaliation, because he had ordered an investigation into a claim that she was having an affair with a relative. He maintains his innocence.

While Mulakkal presented police a copy of his order, it was found to have been issued after the sister filed her complaint against the bishop, the Times of India reports.

Investigators have ordered the bishop to hand over his laptop by Nov. 5, because it is believed the computer will shed more light on the bishop's defense. Mulakkal, who was released on bail, met with investigators briefly Oct. 28, but did not present the laptop at that time. He could be returned to jail if he does not turn over the computer by the Nov. 5 deadline.

A government panel last week conducted an autopsy of Father Kuriakose Kattuhara, a priest who was found dead Oct. 22, weeks after providing police with testimony against the bishop. Family members have alleged foul play, but results of the autopsy have not yet been released, NDTV has reported.

While Mulakkal remains Bishop of Jullundur, Bishop Agnelo Gracias was appointed Sept. 20 to oversee the day-to-day operations of the diocese. Gracias, 79, is a retired auxiliary bishop from Bombay.

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