In an attempt to derail the investigations of the rape case against Jalandhar’s Latin Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal who is accused of sexually abusing a nun, a priest from the Congregation of Mary Immaculate (CMI) tried to negotiate but ended up making threats and promises to another nun -a witness in the case and a friend of the victim – to try and force them to withdraw the case, as per an audio clip of a purported phone conversation between them.
CMI priest James Aerthayil, is heard threatening the victim’s supporter in the audio-clip saying, “don’t you know that they (Jalandhar Diocese) are ready to do anything?”, is also heard telling her that the Bishop’s diocese is ready to help them by buying a 10-acre land and constructing a convent there for them if they are ready to drop the case.
The recording of the priest’s threats and offers to the nun came out in the media close on the heels of reports on a claim made by the victim’s brother that the Jalandhar Diocese through a person in Kalady near Kochi had offered Rs 5 crore and a position of her choice to her in her congregation for not pursuing the rape case.
The recording of the priest-nun conversation has come out also amidst allegations that the Kerala police are delaying the probe against the Bishop deliberately in order to give him and his supporters sufficient time and opportunity to find ways for settling the case. The police are likely to book Fr Aerthayil for trying to influence the nun, a witness in the case.