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Kerala nun rape case: Key witness found dead in Jalandhar

Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a key witness in the Kerala nun rape case was on Monday found dead in Jalandhar in Punjab on Monday. Father Kattuthara was a witness in the case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. He was found dead in St. Mary's Church in Dasuya in Jalandhar.

Father Kuriakose was among the people who had been vocal against Bishop Mulakkal and had also given his statement to the police in connection with the rape case of a nun from Missionaries of Jesus. The cause of his death is yet to be ascertained.

However, the police said that there no injury marks were found on his body. "He used to stay at St Paul's Church in Dasuya. He was found dead there. He was 62. I have been informed that no injuries have been found," DSP Dasuya AR Sharma said adding that the matter will be investigated.

"It was found that he vomited on the bed. Blood pressure tablets were found at the spot," the DSP said.

The family of the 62-year-old priest has suspected a conspiracy in his death. His brother, Jose Kattuthara, reportedly said that he was killed for giving a statement against Bishop Mulakkal.

The priest had earlier alleged that he was under severe pressure by church officials for backing the nun who had levelled rape allegations against the bishop. "The sisters had approached me complaining about Bishop Franco. They did not approach the Kerala police fearing the bishop. In fact, I fear what will happen to me for speaking out against him," he had said in an interview to Mathrubhumi.

Bishop Mulakkal, who was recently released on bail from a Kerala jail, is facing allegations of repeatedly raping a nun of his own congregation. While he has denied the charges, the allegations against him have whipped up a storm, polarising the church hierarchy with several priests speaking against him.

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