The incidence is related to a high profile rape case in which a nun had accused Bishop of raping her multiple times. The court, however, had acquitted the accused due to lack of evidences. S Hari Sankar, who was leading the team which cracked the case, had termed as “very, very unfortunate” and “unnatural” the verdict in the media.
On the basis of his public reaction against the court decision, one person named Majeesh K Mathew from Ettumanoor moved petition alleging contempt of by S Hari Sankar.
Mathew, in his complaint, has appealed to the court to refer the contempt proceedings against the serving officer to the Kerala High Court, as his statements to various media, following the verdict, had allegedly lowered the authority of the court.
Hari Sankar had challenged the maintainability of a contempt of court complaint against him for his media statements. But Kottayam District and Sessions court held that the complaint seeking contempt of court proceedings against IPS officer S Hari Sankar was maintainable, and listed it for hearing on February 3.
What was the case
The case dates back to June 2018, when A nun accused the bishop of rape, and a complaint was filed with the Kerala Police. The nun alleged that she was raped by Bishop Franco Mulakkal thirteen times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to St. Francis Mission Home.
Mulakkal said that rape story was fabricated in retaliation for taking action against the nun with regard to a complaint raised by a woman in 2016 alleging that the nun was having an illicit relationship with her husband, and the nun was removed from her post as Mother Superior after an inquiry.
Police said that it was the bishop who first filed a complaint against the nun and the nun filed her complaint a day later. In his complaint, Mulakkal said that a nun was blackmailing him after he took disciplinary action against her, including transferring her, and that her family members are threatening to entrap him in rape case. FIR was filed for both cases.
On 20 September 2018, Pope Francis accepted Mulakkal's request for a leave of absence.
On 21 September 2018, the Kerala police arrested him.
A Kerala judicial magistrate extended his judicial custody in jail for 14 days until 20 October 2018. The Kerala High Court rejected the bishop's first application for bail, citing prima facie evidence in the case. He was granted bail on 15 October 2018.
In April 2019, he was formally charged by the Kerala police. The trial began in November 2019.
On 14 January 2022, the Additional Sessions Court acquitted him of all charges. The judge stated as the basis for acquittal that the nun's evidence contained “exaggerations and embellishments” and that “[w]hen it is not feasible to separate truth from falsehood, when grain and chaff are inextricably mixed up, the only available course is to discard the evidence in toto.” The court also observed that there was no consistency in the complainant's statement and pointed out that her original version to the doctor is contradictory to the case.