Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed anticipatory bail petitions filed by three priests, who have been booked by the police in connection with the alleged charges of exploiting a married woman by blackmailing her to reveal her confession secrets.
The HC observed that their arrests could not be stopped as prima face there was evidence against them and said the investigating officials can go ahead with the arrest procedures.
It rejected the bail applications of Abraham Varghese alias Sony Varghese, Job Mathew (both Niranam diocese) and Jaise K George (Delhi diocese), who approached the court soon after the Crime Branch slapped rape charges against them along with another priest Johnson V Mathew of Thumpamon diocese.
Dismissing the bail applications, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan said serious allegations had been raised against the accused and if the anticipatory bail was granted at this stage, it would adversely affect the course of the investigation.
A married teacher had, in her statement to the police, alleged that she was blackmailed by four priests over a secret 'confession' she had made in church and sexually assaulted by them over years. Her husband had first approached the Orthodox Church in May this year with a formal complaint demanding the defrocking of the priests.
The Church placed the four priests on suspension, and formed an inquiry panel to conduct a probe. By then, an audio clip of a phone conversation between the woman's husband and a friend about the scandal was leaked on social media, resulting in the police registering a case.(UNI)