Following serious allegations being raised against the current Bishop of Mysuru KA Willian, former judge of the Karnataka High Court, justice Michael Saldanha has written to superiors in the Church-- the Archbishop of Bangalore and to the Cardinal in Mumbai--- demanding the Bishop's resignation.
The Bishop has been facing allegations of sexual misconduct, of having been in relationships (a taboo for serving priests in the Catholic church), as well as allegations of corruption. His name has also been dragged into a controversy relating to the death of a senior priest who had raised his voice against the bishop.
The allegations of sexual misconduct and corruption have been previously reported by TNM.
However, the allegations of covering up a murder are new. In his first letter on 24th May, Justice Saldanha has alleged that the Bishop has fabricated evidence to cover up a murder of one of the priests who signed the letter accusing the bishop of various offences.
Robert Rosario, one of the people who have filed police cases against the Bishop told TNM that a priest named William Albuqurque died on March 2, not due to cardiac arrest but due to unnatural causes. "He as said to have died due to a heart attack, but it is said that the body has serious injuries. The Mysuru Crime branch has called in the Bishop for questioning."
The Bishop has also been accused of threatening those priests who complained against him. Bangalore Mirror reported on Monday that the 37 priests who had complained against the activities of the Bishop had been transferred to rural areas, despite many of these priests being highly qualified academics and were into reserach and teaching. In his second letter on May 29, Justice Saldanha has alleged that the transfers were made 3 minutes after a group call and it was an act of vendetta.
However, Judge Saldanha said that despite all this, the Archbishop seems unwilling to take action against the Bishop. “The Archbishop of Bangalore has the authority over him, but he is saying that only the Pope in the Vatican has the authority. But it doesn’t take a lawyer to know that he (William) is bound by Indian laws. Why should he wait for an authority in Italy?” he asks.
Saldanha further accused the Archbishop and the Bishop of colluding with each other, hence the inaction. “The church has a problem of having too much money. During the Coorg floods two years ago, the church held a concert and raised nearly 50 crores for flood relief. But the money has disappeared, and no relief work has been taken up. An entire team is working on this issue and gathering evidence, which I have looked at, and is credible. There are serious criminal charges against this Bishop and he must resign.”
The Archbishop of Bangalore’s office was unavailable for comment.