The case pertains to a series of land deals which caused huge losses to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Setback for Kerala church head: Cardinal Alencherry to face trial in alleged land scamFACEBOOK
news Controversy Thursday, August 12, 2021 - 19:30
In a setback to the head of the Kerala Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Mar George Alencherry, the Kerala High Court on August 12, asked him and a few others to face trial in an alleged land scam which is believed to have caused huge lossed to the Church. Incidentally a lower court had passed the verdict asking the Cardinal and others to face trial and the Cardinal had approached the High Court seeking to quash the lower court verdict.
 
The unprecedented allegations had rocked the Church and it had driven a wedge between the priests and the laity. A section of the people was against the Cardinal and had even demanded that he step down from the post, as the issue had hurt the Church.
 
The land deal of the Ernakulam Archdiocese of the church dates back to 2016 when it sold a three-acre piece of land in Kochi to repay a Rs 60 crore bank loan. The loan was taken to buy land in Maddur in Ernakulam, to construct a medical college. The agent appointed by the church to facilitate the deal had estimated the value of the land at Rs 27.30 crore, but priests and local people claimed that the property's real value was at least Rs 80 crore.
 
In 2017 December it was alleged by the Save Archdiocese Campaign that the church had incurred huge losses by selling land it owned at prices lower than the market value. After the details of the deals came to light some of the members of the Save Archdiocese Campaign formed the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency to expose irregularities in the land deals. The group includes both priests and laity of the church who stood as a correcting force. The High Court in March 2018 ordered a police probe against Alencherry asking if the Cardinal was the King.
 
SAMT, a gathering of devotees, which acts as a watchdog for the Syro-Malabar Church, in May 2018 made another allegation against Alencherry that he re-registered a house and 6 cents of land, meant for the underprivileged, in his brother’s family’s name.
 
The Ernakulam city police in April 2019 had registered a case against Alencherry and three others in connection with the series of land deals that allegedly ended up causing financial loss to the archdiocese. The three others included two priests - Archdiocese procurator Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakumpadan- and a middleman Saju Varghese, who was the real estate dealer for the land sale.
 
Followed by this in May, the Ernakulam- Angamaly diocese read out a circular at all churches under its fold criticising its head Cardinal George Alencherry and the Kerala police.
 

 

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