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Jalandhar cash seizure case: Father Madassary divested of charge of St Joseph Convent

Father Anthony Madassary was running the private firm, ‘Sahodhaya’, with three other priests — Father Jose, Father Paul and Father Scara Shine — as partners.

chandigarh Updated: Apr 26, 2019 14:50 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Mohali
father anthony madassary,st joseph convent jalandhar,father anthony madassary divested of charge
Father Anthony Madassary was divested of his charge of St Josheph Convent in Jalandhar a month after the recovery of Rs 16 crore from his residence.(HT Photo )

A month after Rs 16 crore were recovered from Father Anthony Madasserry’s residence, Jalandhar diocese bishop Rev Agnelo Rufino Gracias has divested him of the charge of director, St Joseph Covent School, Jalandhar.

In a major reshuffle, the bishop transferred a toal of 68 priests of the diocese with effect from May 19.

The diocese means churches under the jurisdiction of a bishop.

Bishop Gracias said. “The charge has been taken back from Father Anthony as we do not want that any priest attached with the firm ‘Sahodhaya’ should have conflict of interest. The other transfers are routine.”

He added, “Also, we have given clear instructions to students that they can buy books and stationary from anywhere.”

Anthony was running the private firm, ‘Sahodhaya’, with three other priests — Father Jose, Father Paul and Father Scara Shine — as partners. They supply books and stationery to over 45 schools of the diocese, besides having interests in construction business and security services.

The bishop said, “As far as the money (seized from priest Anthony) is concerned, we have got a clean chit from the income tax and police.”

Regarding the alleged pilferage of Rs 6.6 crore by some police personnel, he said, “We don’t want to punish the policemen involved in the episode. We only want our money back.”

In the past one decade, more than 10 private companies in the form of partnership, proprietorship, enterprises, non-banking financial company, NGO and a TV channel have been set up by eight to nine priests based in Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar, with the total annual turnover of around Rs 50 crore.

THE AREAS UNDER JALANDHAR DIOCESE

A bishop, who is head of a diocese, has a vast area under his control. The Jalandhar diocese, with a population of 1.5 lakh, comprises Amritsar, Faridkot, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar, Nawanshahar, Pathankot and Tarn Taran districts of Punjab, besides Anandpur Sahib sub-division of Ropar district.

Besides, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra and Una districts of Himachal Pradesh are also under the diocese.

It controls 120 churches with 150 priests.

The diocese also runs around 50 schools, the Trinity College in Jalandhar and around 10 hospitals across Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

First Published: Apr 26, 2019 14:12 IST