Kerala church land row: Court summons auxiliary bishops

The court issued the order on a plea filed by Mr Polachan Puthuppara.

Kochi: The Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate court has issued summons to five persons, including auxiliary bishops Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath and Mar Jose Puthenveettil, asking them to appear before it on Wednesday in connection with the controversial land deal in Ernakulam–Angamaly archdiocese. The court issued the order on a plea filed by Mr Polachan Puthuppara.

He is the president of Kerala Catholic Association for Justice, seeking action against Cardinal Mar George Alencherry in the land transaction issue. The court postponed the case to Wednesday after registering the petitioner's statement. The statement alleged that corruption, tax evasion, misuse of Church assets and other illegal activities were involved in the land deal. Properties have been sold off to clear the Church's liabilities in violation of the norm that it can be used only for charity activities, the petition said. It is for the first time that a petition is being submitted in the court regarding the controversial land transaction.

Earlier, Mr Polachan Puthuppara had petitioned the inspector-general of police, Ernakulam, seeking a probe into the land deal. Though the Church conducted a probe, the inquiry and action within the Church are based on the canon law of Vatican and no civil or criminal procedures of the state are applicable in the case. Since the alleged irregularities are serious, they can't be ignored and should be punished under various sections of IPC, he demanded.

Meanwhile, the internal inquiry committees appointed by the cardinal and the general synod of Syro-Malabar Church have identified serious lapses in the land deal. Based on the probe report, the powers of the cardinal have been curtailed. As per the land sale deed on June 21, 2016, the archdiocese should get Rs.27.30 crore. But even after one-and-a-half years, the Church received only Rs. 9.13 crore from the deal.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story