Case  filed against Kerala church head George Alencherry over suspect land deals

A case was registered against Cardinal George Alencherry and three others after a complaint alleged criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and cheating in sale of over three acres of land belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

india Updated: Mar 12, 2018 21:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Kerala Cardinal,FIR against Cardinal Kerala,Cardinal George Alencherry
The FIR against Cardinal George Alencherry and three others was registered nearly a week after the Kerala High Court ordered the police to do so.(PTI file photo)

The Kerala police on Monday registered a case against Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar church Cardinal George Alencherry in connection with a series of land deals that reportedly resulted in financial loss to the Ernakulam-Angamally archdiocese.

Last week, the Kerala High Court, while hearing the petition of a layman, observed that prima facie evidence indicated criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation of money in land deals involving the cardinal, and directed the police to book him. While hearing the plea, the court had pulled up the church’s counsel for pointing out that as far as the cardinal was concerned, the appellate authority was the Pope.

The cardinal was arraigned as the first accused. The FIR was also registered against priests Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakkumpadan, and middleman Saju Varghese

The case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 406 (breach of trust), police said. A spokesman of the archdiocese said an appeal will be filed against the HC directive.

A section of priests and laymen have accused the Cardinal of selling prime land of the archdiocese “for a very low price.” They alleged a land mafia played a role in the sale, violating civil and canon laws. They claimed that the church disposed 3.6 acres of prime land in Kochi for Rs 9 crore but it was worth more than Rs 2.7 million.

Earlier, a six member church committee, which probed the alleged irregularities, said it had found numerous instances of violation of canon and civil laws.

It had recommended necessary action against those responsible. The panel, comprising priests, was appointed by Alencherry.

With PTI inputs

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 17:26 IST