Kerala priest discharged in nun rape case over alleged attempt to influence witness

The Hindu [Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India]

May 7, 2022

As per the case, Father James Erthayil attempted to bribe a witness from withdrawing support to survivor nun

The Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Pala, has discharged Father James Erthayil, a priest who allegedly attempted to influence a key witness in the nun rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Considering a discharge petition filed by the priest, judge Padmakumar G. found that no purpose would be served if the case was proceeded with and there were no chances of conviction of the accused as the charges were groundless. Though the police had obtained sanction under Section 155(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to register an FIR , the court found the non-cognisable offences charged against the petitioner as not legally sustainable.

As per the case, Fr. Erthayil had made a phone call to one of the witnesses in the case and attempted to bribe her from withdrawing support to the survivor nun. After an audio clip of the alleged conversation was leaked, the police booked a case against the priest, which was later handed over to the District Crime Branch (CB).

The CB filed a chargesheet against the accused in March 2013.