The Save Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency, a gathering of devotees, which acts as a watchdog for the Syro-Malabar Church, on Sunday made another allegation against Cardinal Mar George Alencherry. They said that he re-registered a house and 6 cents of land, meant for the underprivileged, in his brother’s family’s name.
The church had built houses for 40 underprivileged families in Kochi, in Cardinal Colony. The watchdog alleged that the Cardinal, supreme head of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, re-registered one of the houses in the colony in his brother’s family’s name, breaking the rule that the houses should not be handed over to others.
According to the group, the value of the land is around Rs 1 crore. The land has now been handed over, free of cost, to the Cardinal’s sister-in-law and nephew – Thresyamma James and Janson James. The re-registration was done at the Thrikkakara Sub-registrar’s office. The incident took place on 17 September, 2016. In the document, the price was recorded as Rs 22,50,500.
“The information was accessed through the Right to Information Act. There was no discussion regarding the deal in any of the church councils,” said Shine Varghese, from the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency.
And even though the document claims the land was sold to the family, there is no record of the money being credited to the Church’s account.
This is the second major allegation levelled against the diocese and the Cardinal after the land scam deal. In December 2017, 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. The land was sold to repay the debt it had incurred when it brought land in Mattur, Ernakulam, to build a medical college.
After the details of the deals came to light, it led to ripples across Kerala, with both the church and the Cardinal opting to go on the defensive. Following this, some of the members of the Save Archdiocese Campaign formed the Archdiocesan Campaign for Transparency to expose irregularities in the land deals.