A priest who was the main witness in the accusation for alleged rape against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, from Jullundur (India), was found dead last Monday. A police investigation has been opened in this regard.

Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, 62, was found unconscious in his residence in the church of Santa Maria in Dasuya, Punjab (India), on October 22nd. There were no signs of violence or visible injuries.

After being transferred to a local hospital, Fr. Kattuthara passed away.

Kurian Kattuthara, brother of Fr. Kattuthara, expressed his doubts about police reports that the priest might have suffered cardiac arrest.

“A week before his death my brother had expressed his fear that something like this could happen to him. We can not believe in the Punjab police version, for which my brother has died from cardiac arrest. He did not have any heart disease, “Kurian told local media.

That is why the priest’s family asked the superintendent of the Alappuzha district police for an autopsy and the opening of an investigation. Later the request was transferred to the main minister, Pinarayi Vijayan.

The priest had testified against Bishop Mulakkal, who was arrested on September 21 for the alleged rape of a nun for more than two years.

The religious, who is part of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus, presented the complaint in June.

Father Kattuthara testified before the police about the case a few weeks ago. Local Catholics said that other people who have also testified against the Bishop have received threats.

The religious assured that the abuses began in 2014 in the convent of Kuravilangad (India). However, the Bishop denied all the accusations and was released on bail on October 15. He is currently awaiting trial.

Bishop Mulakkal told UCA News that these accusations are retaliatory because he acted against the sexual misconduct of the religious since according to the version of the Bishop, she maintained a relationship with her husband’s spouse.

However, it is not the only complaint the Bishop has received since other women also accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Currently, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Jesus defends the innocence of the Bishop. This congregation is headquartered in the city of Jullundur, of which Mgr. Mulakkal is responsible.

Originally published in CNA, you can check the original news HERE .