Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 11: Hours after reports said Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal is untraceable, the rape-accused priest spoke to reporters from his residence in Punjab's Jalandhar.
Refuting the rape-charge levelled against him, the Bishop said that he is being targeted by vested forces through a "massive conspiracy". Dismissing the reports which said he is on the run, Mulakkal said he is available for cooperation in the probe.
"The police came here last month (on August 14) and questioned me for hours, throughout the night. I completely cooperated with them and will continue to do," the 54-year-old said.
According to the Bishop, he is being targeted by "anti-church" forces, who are using the nun as a pawn. "These are the same forces who have always tried to tarnish the image of the church. Now, all of them have united and conspired against us," he added.
#EXCLUSIVE on CNN-News18 – This is a tactic to pressurise the government. This is a conspiracy by those groups who have been against the Church since the beginning, says Bishop Franco Mulakkal. | #ArrestRapistBishop #BishopMulakkalonNews18 pic.twitter.com/lNXRnXiGdt
— News18 (@CNNnews18) September 11, 2018
A 44-year-old nun based in Kerala's Kottayam, has alleged that she was raped 12 times between 2014 to 2016. She filed the FIR against Mulakkal on June 27 this year.
Six days before her the police complaint was registered, the rape-accused Bishop wrote to the Kerala police, claiming that the nun is targeting him as she was recently transferred on administrative grounds.
Meanwhile, the Missionaries of Jesus issued a statement on Monday expressing solidarity with Mulakkal. The congregation asked nuns in Kerala to stay away from protests organised against the Bishop by the "vested forces".
"We cannot crucify an innocent soul (Bishop) based on such allegations. The allegations are totally baseless. We doubt the nuns are forced into this protest by external influence," the statement said.