KOCHI: The six-member panel comprising priests and experts appointed by the Syro-Malabar Church to examine the controversial land sales of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese has squarely blamed Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop, for the deal that involved financial and moral loss to the Church. The report, accessed by DC, has stated that the Cardinal was involved in “numerous instances of violations of Canon and civil laws along with the lack of transparency and collegiality”.
The report pointed out that “the first deed was registered even before it was discussed at the Consulter’s Forum. Decision of the finance council quoted in all 36 deeds is incorrect. The receivable value set by the Curia was Rs 27.15 crore whereas the value according to the registered deed was only Rs 13.51 crore. But the total receipt of money from the agent was only Rs 9.13 crore. It is painful to note that at the time of the execution of the sale deeds, the major archbishop has not assured the receipt of money to the archdiocese”.
The 33-page report with over 100-page annexure has listed out a series of flaws from the side of the Cardinal, stating that “the Major Archbishop seems to have fully known and involved in the alienation and purchase of the lands by the archdiocese in the specific period”. The report said: “The Major Archbishop was directly involved in alienating all the five plots (all pages of the sale documents were signed in person) which were sold into 36 pieces”.
Highlighting another area of lack of transparency the report mentioned that the land purchases at Devikulam and Kottappady were known only to the three persons – Major Archbishop, Msgr Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and the finance officer Fr. Joshy Puthuva. “This was not discussed in the Curia nor was it shared with the auxiliary bishops serving in the archdiocese. Similarly the decision to avail a bank loan of `10 cr, through AICO (Archdiocesan Institutions Central Office) was also hidden from the Auxiliary bishop (Sebastian Adyanthrath) who happened to be the president of AICO”.
Although Major Archbishop has acknowledged that he introduced real estate agent Saju Vargehese Kunnel to the finance officer he declined to give any written response to the panel to finalise the report. “When asked to given a written response to the interim report Major Archbishop declined to do so, and asked the committee to finalise the report without his response”, it said. The report has responses of other five persons including that of Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath of Erankulam-Angamaly Archdiocese and finance officer, Fr Joshy Puthuva.
The committee comprising three priests and three others headed by Fr. Benny Maramparampil was appointed on November, 2017 following the scandal. The chapter, “Role of individuals in the financial and land transactions of the archdiocese”, says: “As the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, he should have taken utmost care in respecting provisions of Canon Law… Particular Law of Syro-Malabar Church, which was promulgated by the same Major Archbishop, was violated by him on more than one occasion”....