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First black money case against Catholic Church in India, top Cardinal in a soup

Money Control News

Earlier, a six member panel was set up by the Church after details of land deals that led to financial losses to the church came to light

Cardinal George Alencherry, who heads the Kochi-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has found himself in the middle of a storm after a Church panel probing the sale of church property recommended legal action against him along with two others. The decision could also pave way for the first-ever black money case that has the Catholic Church in the center.

The decision came after a probe report that was also sent to the Pope levelled severe allegations against the Cardinal, a report in The Indian Express stated. Earlier, a six-member panel was set up by the Church after details of land deals that led to financial losses to the church came to light.

The crux of the matter was the way the land was sold to repay a bank loan taken by the Church. While the church-appointed agent concluded that the land was worth over Rs 27 crore, the Church reportedly received less than Rs 10 crore. Further, many within the Church claimed that the land was originally worth at least Rs 80 crore.

“The Major Archbishop (Alencherry) was directly involved in alienating all the five plots, which were sold after being divided into 36 pieces. The first deed was registered even before it was discussed in the Consulters’ Forum. The decision of the finance council quoted in all the 36 sale deeds is incorrect. The receivable value set by the diocese was Rs 27.15 crore, whereas the value according to the registered deeds was only Rs 13,51,44,260…People who are responsible for the crisis should be tried according the law of the Church and necessary action should be taken for the violation of the civil law,” recommended the panel as per the reports.

While no clear response has come from the Alencherry, one of the only five Cardinals in the country, the fact that the report has been sent to the Vatican is a cause of worry for him. With calls for his resignation on the rise, the Cardinal has limited options and time at his disposal.

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