Posts Tagged ‘land’

Cardinal, bishop and other priests involved in land and financial scandals in Kerala (1)

February 2, 2018

Cardinal, bishop and other priests involved in land and financial scandals in Kerala (1)

Cardinal George Alencherry with Pope

Rs 80 crores land sold for Rs 27.30 crore: Just like Vatican, the Indian Church has also been involved in many scandals from sex to money swindling and other activities. Particularly, from Kerala, the crimes related to the Church have been horrible from murder, sex and financial scams involving all types of priests, bishops and cardinals also. Pressure is mounting on Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church based in Kerala, to resign after allegations that church land had been sold below market value in a deal that he had approved. Alencherry, 72, was ordained as a Cardinal, a priest of the highest rank in the Roman Catholic Church, by Pope Benedict XVI in February 2012. He is one of only five Cardinals in India. The deal in question concerns the sale of three acres of land in Kochi by the Ernakulam archdiocese in 2016 to repay a Rs 60-crore bank loan it had taken to build a medical college. The agent appointed by the church to conduct the deal had estimated the value of the land at Rs 27.30 crore, but the church has so far received only Rs 9.13 crore of that amount. However, priests and lay people critical of the action claim that the plot was actually worth at least Rs 80 crores[1].

Cardinal George Alencherry - V J Hyacinth complains to Pope

Cardinal can be subjected to legal action only with the permission of the Pope: Joseph Parecattil, a priest in the Ernakulam archdiocese, said that the Presbyteral Council of the Ernakulam archdiocese has decided to submit a formal request to the Pope to inquire into these financial dealings[2]. Ironically, in spite of financial scam, the Church could take action against cardinal, only if the Pope gives permission. Many do not understand the “State within state” working of church in India and elsewhere. The Presbyteral Council is a panel of 57 priests that looks after the archdiocese’s financial and administrative affairs. “This is the first-ever complaint from a Presbyteral Council in Kerala to the Pope requesting him to investigate financial irregularities,” said Parecattil. Another priest, who asked to remain anonymous, said Alencherry should step down if the Pope acts on the complaint. “He would have to quit to ensure free and fair investigation,” he added. Separately, the charitable organisation Mother Teresa Global Foundation has also sent a complaint to the Pope, urging him to remove the Cardinal from his post. “We represent the laity,” said VJ Hycinth, chairman of the foundation. “We pray to the Pope to take our complaint seriously.”

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

Murky land deals of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church: The six-member committee comprising priests and experts which examined the murky land deals of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church has recommended “legal action according to the law of the church and for violation of civil law” against the people responsible for the crisis created in the wake of the land transactions[3]. The report having 19 recommendations also called for an independent audit of the land and other transactions of the church by a reputed firm of chartered accountants[4]. “A complete assessment of all financial and land transactions of the Archdiocese could be done in a professional manner to sort out the present issues and to adopt safe and legally acceptable steps in all future transactions”.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-Fr. Varghese Sabu

Forming committees to avoid legal proceedings: The Committee recommended legal action against Saju Varghese for the “recovery of the unpaid sale consideration pertaining to the property near Bharat Mata College, Thrikkakkara and also to recover the advance amount to Saju Varghese and others”. Another major recommendation called for immediate action to file income tax returns along with audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2017 to avoid a huge penalty and other penal provisions. The committee called for appointing a new finance officer with immediate effect “who is an expert in financial matters and has outstanding honesty”. The committee recommended collecting opinion and creative ideas from priests and lay leaders of the archdiocese at various levels to raise funds for the archdiocese to solve the crisis. Action should be taken to repay the loan liability in various banks to avoid a huge interest and recovery steps by banks, the committee said and pointed out that inter-trust transfer of funds were illegal and should not be promoted in future. Funds set apart for charity should not be diverted for any other purposes, it added.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-priests

Cardinal George Alenchery, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Msg Sebastian Vadakkumpadam and Finance Officer Fr Joshy Puthuva involved: Detailed financial investigation of the financial transactions of all other associated trusts under the archdiocese and external internal auditing by a reputed firm of chartered accountants on a regular basis in the archdiocese as well as major trusts were the other recommendations. Documentation of all canonical bodies should be precise and accurate and should stick to the standardized format. Fixed asset register should be maintained immediately to safeguard the precious properties and buildings of the archdiocese. Recommending the observation of the provisions of canon law and civil law in all future transactions especially by the finance office, the committee also called for an induction programme for members of the financial council. Establishment of vigilance mechanisms and mandatory regular internal auditing for all ecclesiastical institutions was the other key recommendation. The committee in its report has mainly blamed the failures of Cardinal George Alenchery, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Msg Sebastian Vadakkumpadam and Finance Officer Fr Joshy Puthuva for the land deals and the scandal associated with the deals.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-Rani

Cardinal George Alencherry was involved “in the alienation and purchase of lands by the archdiocese”: The report by a committee of experts appointed by the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly and headed by Fr Benny  Maramparampil to probe a series of land sales and purchase by the archdiocesan authorities says that the Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry was involved “in the alienation and purchase of lands by the archdiocese” during the period between April 2015 and November 2017[5]. “It was with his knowledge and consent that the land was purchased at Mattoor. The Major Archbishop was directly involved in alienating all the five plots, which were sold into 36 plots”, the report said[6]. The report was presented before the Presbyteral Council (council of priests) of the archdiocese here on Tuesday (29-01-2018). A copy of the report was seen by The Hindu. The report relates to a series of land deals starting with the purchase of around 23 acres in Mattoor for a proposed medical college. This was followed by the sale of around 3 acres near Kochi in which the archdiocese had not received the entire sale proceeds. Since the archdiocese could not meet its loan repayment, it was decided that more than 3 acres in different places near Kochi owned by the archdiocese would be sold to repay the loan. The loan was taken to buy the land in Mattoor.

 

Deals violated the relevant provisions of the Canon Law and caused a financial loss: These deals snowballed into a major financial scandal with the council of priests raising the problem of the archdiocese not getting all of the sale proceeds, which amounted to ₹27.15 crore. The value of the plots sold shown in the land deed was ₹13.51 crore. Of this, the archdiocese received only ₹9.13 crore. “It is painful to note that at the time of execution of the sale deeds, the Major Archbishop has not ensured the receipt of money to the archdiocese”, the report said. It also said that the purchase of plots at Kottappady near Kothamangalam and near Devikulam was known only to the Archbishop and senior functionaries Fathers Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and Joshy Puthuva. The purchase was not discussed with or disclosed to the curia, the high-level decision making body of the archdiocese nor was it discussed with the Auxiliary Bishops. The report also says that even though the archdiocese received ₹9.13 crore from the land sale, no amount had been remitted into the loan account. These deals violated the relevant provisions of the Canon Law and caused a financial loss, the report said.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-priests group

Vested group tries to cover up: As usual, as “The Hindu” reported that, a meeting of the newly elected pastoral council would be convened only after the meeting where the panel report will be discussed[7].  In the wake of the decision, the meeting of the pastoral council scheduled to be held on February 10, 2018 has been postponed to another date.  The Cardinal also informed the council the decision of the Syro Malabar Bishops’ Synod asking the Cardinal to delegate the day- to-day administration of the archdiocese to auxiliary bishops. The council condemned burning of Sathyadeepam weekly and attempts to prevent a meeting convened to discuss the issues at Subodhana Pastoral Centre, Angamaly, last Sunday (21-01-2018), by a section of the laity[8].      Presbyteral council secretary Fr Kuriakose Mundadan made it clear that the issue was related to the administration of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam and Angamaly and not related to the liturgy in any way.   He said social media posts and media reports blaming and insulting the Cardinal, auxiliary bishops and priests  were baseless. ‘’Such campaigns are carried out by people with vested interests,’’ Fr Mundadan said.

© Vedaprakash

02-02-2018

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-2

[1] Scroll.in, Head of Kerala’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church urged to quit amidst accusations of corrupt land deal, by  TA Ameerudheen, Published Jan 08, 2018 · 06:30 am

[2] https://scroll.in/article/864015/head-of-keralas-syro-malabar-catholic-church-urged-to-quit-amidst-accusations-of-corrupt-land-deal

[3] Deccan Chronicle, Syro-Malabar Church panel seeks sanctification, Published: Feb 1, 2018, 6:52 am IST; Updated: Feb 1, 2018, 6:52 am IST.

[4] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/010218/syro-malabar-church-panel-seeks-sanctification.html

[5] The Hindu, Report of experts points finger at Major Archbishop, KOCHI, JANUARY 30, 2018 22:35 IST; UPDATED: JANUARY 30, 2018 22:35 IST

[6] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/report-of-experts-points-finger-at-major-archbishop/article22597874.ece

 

[7] Express News Service, Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese to issue circular on land deal, Published: 31st January 2018 01:23 AM, Last Updated: 31st January 2018 03:59 AM

[8] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/jan/31/ernakulam-angamaly-archdiocese-to-issue-circular-on-land-deal-1765856.html

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Ezra Sargunam, Church planting, land grabbing, politics and communalization under the guise of secularization!

November 14, 2017

Ezra Sargunam, Church planting, land grabbing, politics and communalization under the guise of secularization!

ECI for church planting

The controversial Christian priest Ezra Shargunam and his land grabbing activities: In September 2017, when there was rumour about M. Karunanidhi, Ezra Sargunam gave interview to the media and certified that[1], “I met Karunanidhi, he is doing well….He looked at me……” It was surprise for many, as why a Christian priest should have done it, particularly, when Karunanidhi has been an atheist. Of course, Ezra’s role in political circles is considered as “broking”.  While Vaiko is criticized recently [this month, November 2017] for his “Christian” leanings and “crypto-Christian” activities, ironically, he himself dubbed Ezra Sargunam as “false-prophet” citing Bible[2]. He warned that people like him are tigers roaming with sheep’s skin. Thus, the role of Ezra has been intriguing on many accounts. Earlier in his book, he has openly recorded that there is nothing wrong in land grabbing[3]. That is whatever is done in the name of Jesus, it is allowed. Again, there have been court cases, involving him with land grabbing. In this context, what had happened 17 years ago in Gujarat, becomes important in the context.  Interestingly, the same Ezra Sargunam played a crucial role there. He was reportedly involved in a land grabbing case, where he tried to interfere and created “law and order problem.” As he had gone there as “the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission,” the state authoties pointed out that he was out of jurisdiction and hence they could take action to arrest him for violations. Thus, he prepared to move bail to save his honour. The Gujarat Government also complained to the Government of Tamilnadu.

Ezra politics

Karunanidhi asked Ezra Sargunam to return, as he exceeded limits: The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, has asked the president of the Evangelical Society of India and chairman of the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission, Bishop Ezra Sargunam, to leave Gujarat and return home immediately, according to the Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Mr. Haren Pandya, here today [06-12-2000][4]. Mr. Pandya showed reporters a copy of the fax message sent by Mr. Karunanidhi to his Gujarat counterpart, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, urging the Bishop in Vyara hospital in Surat district, to return home[5]. The message also assured the Bishop that the issue of alleged attack on a church in Chhindia village of Vyara taluka, against which he launched an indefinite fast, could be taken up with an “appropriate authority” later. The Bishop was forcibly admitted to the Vyara Civil Hospital yesterday [05-12-2000] after his condition deteriorated.

Bishop Sundar Singh was commissioned as the new presiding Bishop of ECI.

Ezra was trying to instigate local Christians: The message, Mr. Pandya said, was in response to a request sent by the State Government pointing out that the Bishop was “trying to instigate” Christians in Chhindia village and creating a “law and order problem”. The Tamil Nadu Government was also informed that the chairman of its Minority Commission had “no jurisdiction” over Gujarat and had adopted a stance of non- cooperation with the authorities. Virtually blaming the Christians for the dispute over the church in the village, Mr. Pandya said the Government would take “stern action” against anyone found “instigating” people. It was a “deliberate scheme” of the Christians to “defame the BJP government in the State”, he claimed.

Bishop refused to leave causes unrest, The Tribune, 09-12-2000

Christian plot to grab the land of a tribal: Denying knowledge of the involvement of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the incident of November 26 as alleged by the All-India Christian Council, the Minister said the land on which the “so- called church” was functioning actually belonged to Mr. Puniyabhai Ukadiabhai Kotwalia, a local tribal. Mr. Puniyabhai, who became a Christian some time ago, recently re-converted to Hinduism. On November 29, the Christian Council lodged a complaint with the Vyara police stating that a group of VHP activists “attacked the church” in Chhindia village on November 26 and “desecrated it”. Mr. Puniayabhai, meanwhile, accused Christian leaders of “forcibly entering” the “premises owned by him” and taking away the picture of a Hindu deity.

Karu asked Ezra Sargunam to return to TN, Dec.07, 2000 - The Hindu

Conversion trick to create communal tension: While the Council spokesman, Mr. Samson Christian, said the piece of land was jointly owned by seven persons who together handed it over to the local Christian community for building a church in 1996, Mr. Pandya claimed that according to government records, Mr. Puniyabhai was sole owner of the land and inherited it from his father. The “church” was actually a room in his residence which he had “allowed local Christians to use as a prayer hall,” Mr. Pandya said. Mr. Christian had accused the local police of working hand-in- glove with the VHP in attacking the church in the presence of senior government officials including the District Collector and the District Superintendent of Police. Mr. Pandya said the Revenue Department gave Mr. Puniyabhai ownership of the land in June, 1992, as he was cultivating it since 1975. Under the Tenancy Act, he had no authority to sell or re-allocate it to anyone else without the prior permission of the Government and there was no question of his giving the land for construction of a church. But after Mr. Puniyabhai became a Christian in 1995, one of the rooms was used by local Christians as a prayer hall. He re-converted to Hinduism six months ago and since then has refused permission for the room to be used as a church.

Bail granted to Ezra Sargunam, Dec.15, 2000 - The Hindu

Land grabbing Ezra’s style carried on in Gujarat: Contrary to Mr. Samson Christian’s claims, Mr. Pandya said a group of Christians forcibly entered the room on November 26 and removed the picture of a Hindu deity. On a complaint filed by Mr. Puniyabhai, the Vyara civil court issued a stay on December 1 against the use of the land by either sides and fixed the hearing on December 12. The issue could have been resolved earlier but for the adjournment sought twice on November 30 and December 4 by the local Christians on its hearing, Mr. Pandya claimed. He alleged that Bishop Sargunam went on an indefinite fast only after the civil court granted the stay. The Christian Council also filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the stay granted by the Vyara civil court. Mr. Pandya also refuted the Council’s claim that 200 Christians had migrated from the village after November 26. The Vyara social justice committee chairman along with some other officials visited the village and found that all the people were staying in their respective houses, he said. No migration had taken place as claimed by Mr. Christian, he stated and pointed out that in the village with a population of 1,500, over 75 per cent were Hindus and the rest Christians.

Ezra politics- stalin dravida-church alliance

Local Court granted bail for Ezra, thus escaped from arrest[6]: The Vyara civil court today [14-12-2000] granted anticipatory bail to Bishop Ezra Sargunam, the national president of the Evangelical Church of India, but refused him permission to enter any place within its jurisdiction, which include Chhindia village in south Gujarat, where a church of his denomination was allegedly attacked on November 26, 2000. The Bishop, who is also the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission, had filed the anticipatory bail following a criminal complaint filed against him and a few others by the “owner” of the piece of land on which the church stood, Mr. Punyabhai Kotwalia, for allegedly “trespassing” on his property[7]. The Bishop had launched an indefinite fast in front of the church on November 29 demanding restoration of the church, which the Christians claimed was desecrated during the attack and converted into a temple. The Vyara civil court, while granting a stay on December 1 on Mr Punyabhai’s petition that the land was his “personal property,” had also directed the Bishop to stay away from Vyara taluka. The Bishop, who is still here meeting with other Christian leaders, had made it clear that he would take a decision on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi’s message to return to Chennai only “in consultation with the leaders of the secular forces.”

Ezra politics-land grabbing--church alliance-atheism

Ezra indulged in objectionable activities: The Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Mr. Haren Pandya, when asked about the Vyara civil court’s order, said the State Government would ensure that the court order was “strictly implemented” hinting that it would not hesitate to arrest the Bishop if he made any attempt to return to Vyara or Chhindia. The State Home Secretary, Dr V. V. Rama Subba Rao, has written to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, informing him about the “objectionable activities” of the Bishop in the State. Like the Chief Minister, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, who wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart twice requesting him to recall the Bishop, Dr. Subba Rao has also requested the Chief Secretary to take immediate steps to ensure that the Bishop stopped “interfering” with the law and order situation in the State[8]. In fact, his refusal to leave, created tension in the area[9]. Meanwhile, the State Government has decided to make elaborate security arrangements in the south Gujarat districts to ensure peace during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. At a meeting of the district collectors and district superintendents of police of Surat, Bulsar, Navsari and Dangs districts convened here today by Mr. Pandya and Dr. Subba Rao, it was decided to deploy adequate number of state reserve police and anti-riot Rapid Action Force personnel in the four districts to assist the local police and home guards to maintain peace during the celebrations.

Ezra politics- Vijaya kanth

PTI reports from Surat: The sessions court today banned the entry of Bishops Ezra Sargunam and Fr. Raive Ishudas of Chennai into the Vyara sub- division, without the written permission from the court. According to the conditions imposed by the court on the Bishops, the orders would be applicable till the chargesheet was filed against them. The court allowed anticipatory bail applications by the Bishops and dismissed the criminal application filed by Shankarbhai Gamit of Vyara. The Vyara police was directed to enlarge the two Bishops on bail on their furnishing a solvent surity of Rs. 5000 with a personal bond for the like sum each in the event of their arrest in an offence registered by the Vyara police station.  The same news was also reproduced by the Catholic news agency it its own way[10]. “An Indian court has banned a Protestant bishop from entering the area of a disputed chapel in a ruling the bishop says was politically motivated to harass Christians….. Bishop Sargunam, vice chairman of the Minorities Commission of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, said he left Gujarat after state authorities refused to meet him…….. The Protestant bishop told UCA News that he had to leave the area because of the state government´s partisan approach toward Christians. Anti-Christian attacks in Gujarat are “State-sponsored vandalism,” he said. More than 100 attacks against Christians have been reported in Gujarat in the last two years.” Thus, the persecution myth went on in their own way[11].

© Vedaprakash

14-11-2017

Ezra politics- stalin dravida-church alliance-atheism

[1] http://www.tamil8.com/watch.php?vid=f5e16b702

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a08ptEvj1dQ

[3] M. Ezra Sargunam, Multiplying Churches in India: An Experiment in Madras, Federation of Evangelical Churches of India, 1974, Madras, pp141-142.

https://christianityindia.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/nothing-illegal-in-encroaching-land-for-church/

[4] The Hindu, Karunanidhi asks T.N. Bishop in Gujarat to return, By Manas Dasgupta, Thursday, December 07, 2000.

[5] http://www.thehindu.com/2000/12/07/stories/0207000l.htm

[6] The Hindu, Bail granted to Bishop, By Manas Dasgupta, Friday, December 15, 2000

[7] http://www.thehindu.com/2000/12/15/stories/02150005.htm

[8] The Tribune, Bishop’s refusal to leave causes unrest, December 9, 2000.

[9] http://www.tribuneindia.com/2000/20001210/nation.htm – 8

[10] UCAnews, Protestant bishop leaves after Hindu state head refuses to meet, December 15, 2000.

[11] https://www.ucanews.com/story-archive/?post_name=/2000/12/15/protestant-bishop-leaves-after-hindu-state-head-refuses-to-meet&post_id=17391