Case filed against Kerala church head George Alencherry over suspect land deals
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
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Here are today’s top news, analysis, and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
- Farm laws protests enter Day 92. Bachelet-Indra Mani Pandey debate over agitation at UN.