PALA, India — A nun representing a reported rape victim of Bishop Franco Mulakkal has accused the defense of evidence tampering in the case and is demanding that the real evidence be presented.
Sister Anupama of the Missionaries of Jesus said in a statement that the tampering was part of a campaign to “sabotage” the case and protect Mulakkal, according to India Today.
She made the accusation after a court in Pala, Kerala found “discrepancies” between copies of cyber forensic evidence submitted by a forensic laboratory and those submitted by police, according to The Times of India.
“If real evidence is not handed over to the police, I will file a complaint against the lab. This is a bid to prolong the trial,” Anupama said in her statement.
The court has ordered the investigating officer in the case to present a “fresh copy” of the cyber forensic report, The Times of India reported. The case will be revisited by the court starting Aug. 9.
In April 2019, Mulakkal, Bishop of Jullundur, was formally charged with raping a nun nine times over a two-year period, for which he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus and part of the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.
Mulakkal has also been charged with intimidation, illegal confinement, and unnatural intercourse, for which he faces at least 10 years in prison if found guilty, according to reports from the New York Times.
In June 2018, the nun accused Mulukkal of sexually assaulting her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. In a 72-page complaint to police, the nun alleged that the bishop sexually abused her more than a dozen times over two years.
Mulukkal was arrested Sept. 21, 2018 amid protests calling for a police investigation of the allegation. He was subsequently released on bail, and he has maintained his innocence.