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Case registered against Kerala cardinal Alencherry

A local court in Kochi has registered a case against cardinal Mar George Alencherry and some others.

Thiruvananthapuram: The alleged scam in the sale of some parcels of land of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala bounced back into the limelight on Tuesday, with a local court in Kochi registering a case against cardinal Mar George Alencherry and some others.

The case was registered by the Thrikkakara magistrate court, which, prima facie, found misappropriation of funds in the land deal of the church.

Three others — priests Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakkumpadam, and middleman for the land deal, Saju Varghese — have also been named in the case. The accused have been sent notices by the court.

It was on a petition by one Shine Varghese that the case was registered. The complainant pointed out that there were alleged cheating and financial loss to the church in the sale of church land measuring about three acres.

When police refused to accept his complaint, the complainant approached the court which registered the case.

According to the complainant, land worth about Rs275 million (Dh14.66 million) was sold, but only about Rs135 million was realised. He accused that the accused conspired and cheated, thereby causing significant financial loss to the church.

The development comes as a second blow to the Syro-Malabar church in Kerala within a few days. Last Friday, the enforcement directorate in Punjab booked a Kerala priest, Antony Madassery, from whom Rs96.70 million was confiscated. Madassery is a close associate of bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused in the nun rape case.

Madassery countered the enforcement directorate’s claim, stating that the money was that of a partnership firm called Sahodaya which provides books, uniforms and stationery items to several schools in Punjab.

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