Kochi: Five nuns from a convent in Kottayam Kuravilangadu seminary are still holding a protest in Kochi, Kerala, against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulackal, who is accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016. On Tuesday, he rejected the charges as "baseless and concocted" and said he was open for the probe.

"If I am found guilty, which I am not, I am likely to be punished...I will appear before the police if I am summoned. I am a law-abiding citizen," he told television channels here.

The priest said he, like everybody else, has the right to take legal recourse.

Terming the allegations against him as "serious", the bishop said only three persons knew the truth.

"The complainant's sister, myself and God (know the truth)," he said.

The bishop also accused the nun of "blackmailing" him.

"In the first letter she (nun) wrote to Mother Superior, where she made some demands. She wanted Bihar (church) to be treated as a separate region and that she be re-instated as Superior of the House. It is a clear case of blackmailing," he asserted.

The priest also hit out at those protesting against him.

"Many derogatory statements are being made against me. Is anyone bothered? I am an individual and also a citizen. Though I am an accused here, but that does not give anyone the licence to tarnish my character," he said.

Reposing his faith in the probe, Bishop Franco Mulakkal said let the enquiry report come up.

"At this moment, whatever is going on is not justifiable. I suffered it silently. This is a time of crisis. I am going through painful agony. I tell everyone to pray to God, let the truth prevail," he said.

Meanwhile, the victim has petitioned the Vatican representative in India alleging that the clergyman was using "political and money power" to bury the case and sought his removal from the post.

In a letter to Giambattista Diquattro, Vatican's Apostolic Nuncio (a diplomatic mission), the nun said she has turned to the Church authorities for justice. "Seeking your urgent intervention in this case as the representative of the Holy See in India," she said.

She alleged that by continuing in the position of Jalandhar diocese, Bishop Franco Mulakkal and his close associates "are using the wealth of the diocese to divert" the course of the police investigation.