Kochi: The Kakkanad judicial first class magistrate has registered a case against Cardinal George Alenchery, Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church, in the controversial land deal case.
It has found that prima facie irregularities exist in the deal and has served notices on the Cardinal and two others — Fr Joshy Puthuva and Saju Varghese, the alleged broker involved in the deal. The court observed that the complainant has succeeded to the extent of prima facie establishing offences punishable under Sections 120B, 406 and 423 of the IPC against the persons.
The court, however, rejected the contention of complainant Joshy Varghese, a native of Pulluvazhy near Perum-bavoor, in six other Sections of the IPC, including 420 pertaining to cheating.
The court issued the notices a day after the Income-Tax Department slapped a fine of nearly Rs 3 crore on the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese for evading income tax in connection with the land deal. The Church paid Rs 51 lakh as the first tranche of the fine on Monday. Even though the Church has officially denied that it has been slapped with a fine, it has decided to file an appeal with the I-T Department to waive the notice for the payment.
The Kakkanad court issued notices to the Cardinal even as Bishop Jacob Manathodathu, the apostolic administrator of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, left for Rome to submit a report commissioned by the Church to the authorities concerned in Vatican.
In another development, Fr. Paul Thelakatt and Bishop Jacob Manathodathu filed a petition in the High Court demanding the quashing of the FIR registered against them in the case linked to the alleged fabrication of a document against Cardinal Alenchery.
The petitioners pointed out that they have only handed over the documents that came to their possession for the inspection of the leadership of the Church. Claiming that they don’t have any role in the creation of the documents the two have pleaded for quashing the FIR.