iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

Manoj R Nair, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 29, 2013
A former parish priest of Our Lady of Egypt Church in Kalina, Santacruz, was among the three people named in an FIR filed at Vakola police station about an illegal sale of church property to a family in 2005.

The complaint says Rumao, Elphege Pereira and Bonfilio Pereira forged legal documents to sell a church trust-owned residential chawl to private parties.

The priest Fr John Rumao who now serves in a different church said he had nothing to do with the property deal as he had left the Kalina church in 1996.

The lawyer who represents the three accused said that while the church trust had leased the property to the Pereira family as far back as 1950, the property's ownership was finally transferred to the family in 2005.

The complainants, including one Valerian Fernandes, who are tenants of the chawl have said that they were given eviction notices after a deed of conveyance was signed in October 2005 between Fr Rumao (as the church's sole trustee) on the basis of a Power of Attorney document. Their complaint says that the Power of Attorney was not valid as Fr Rumao was no longer the parish priest when the deal was signed.

The complainants also say that an RTI application showed that property documents were forged to undervalue the property. Fr Rumao said he was unaware of the property deal.

"I ceased to be the parish priest in 1996. I do not know whether my Power of Attorney was misused," said Fr Rumao.