Job Mathew surrenders a day after his anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by HC
A day after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Kerala high Court, one of the four priests accused in a rape case has surrendered before the police on Thursday. Job Mathew surrendered at the office of Kollam DSP on Thursday.
Arrests of the priests were imminent since the Kerala High Court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of Abraham Varghese alias Sony, Job Mathew and Jaise K George—three among the four priest who had approached the court soon after the crime branch of Kerala Police slapped rape charges against them for allegedly sexually exploiting a woman.
Coming down heavily on the priests, the high court had observed that they acted as “predators” and took “undue advantage” of the 34-year-old victim. “Prima facie the applicants acted as predators…they have taken undue advantage of the position of the survivor,” Justice R Vijayaraghavan said, dismissing their bail pleas.
According to the woman, she was “systematically abused” by the accused, who were all closely known to her family.
The incident came to light after an audio clip containing the victim’s husband’s purported conversation with a church official alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests was widely circulated on the social media.
The investigation team had recorded the statement of the victim’s husband earlier.
The man had reportedly handed over copies of evidence against the priests to the crime branch team.
A Crime Branch probe was ordered into the case last week by state police chief Loknath Behara.
Veteran CPI(M) leader and chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission V.S. Achuthanandan and the National Commission for Women (NCW) had written to Behara demanding a probe into the charges.
Crime Branch Inspector General S. Sreejith is leading the probe.
(With inputs from PTI)