Kerala 'sex for silence' case: HC declines anticipatory bail to rape-accused priests; investigation team to continue probe

In the latest development, the anticipatory bail plea of three Catholic orthodox priests accused of sexually assaulting a woman from the same parish was rejected by the Kerala High Court on Wednesday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Fathers Job Mathew, Abraham Vargheese and Jaise K George had been charged with sections for sexual abuse and threatening. Dismissing their bail pleas, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan said serious allegations had been raised against the accused. If anticipatory bail was granted at this stage, it would adversely affect the investigation, which was at a preliminary stage, the court said.

Earlier, the court had directed the police to produce the complaint of sexual harassment of the woman, filed by her husband and other documents related to the case. In their bail applications, the priests rejected the woman's allegations that they had sexually assaulted her. They alleged that the case was registered against them "solely at the instance of the political pressure exerted by certain vested interests to derive political mileage". The crime branch has registered an FIR against the priests after recording the victim woman's statement.

At the moment, all three priests remain absconding. It is also possible that the priests may surrender in court or in front of the investigation team, according to India Today.

The priests under the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, were accused by a man of using his wife's secret confession to blackmail and sexually exploit her.  The husband alleged that one of the priests had sexually abused the woman before her marriage and made advances even after she got married. When she revealed this to another priest, he allegedly also started abusing her and passed the information to three other priests.

Veteran CPI(M) leader and chairman of Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission V S Achuthanandan and the National Commission for Women had written to Kerala DGP Loknath Behara, demanding a probe into the charges

With inputs from Agencies

 


Updated Date: Jul 11, 2018 14:22 PM

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