Following media reports of large scale corruption in the Catholic church, the church has denied these allegations. In a press statement, the Archbishop of Bengaluru said, “The archdiocese of Bangalore is deeply disturbed to receive a notice from Justice Michael Saldanha… His allegation of misappropriation of Rs 49.50 crore of the flood relief fund is totally wrong, baseless and far from the truth.”
The statement further said that the total amount of funds collected by the Archbishop of Bengaluru for flood relief amounted to Rs 2.15 crore, while the Mysuru Diocese collected a sum of Rs 2.43 crore and that the proposed music concert by Sonu Nigam was cancelled due to his indisposition.
“The total amount collected by the Archdiocese of Bangalore and the Diocese of Mysore for the Flood Victims is Rs 3.93 crore only. The funds from the Archdiocese of Bangalore were sent to the Beneficiary Dioceses through Caritas India, New Delhi,” the statement added.
However, the church did not respond to the allegation of murder, nor did it issue any clarification on the issue of mass transfer of priests, who had raised a complaint against the Mysuru Bishop KA William. The spokesperson for the Archbishop of Bengaluru told TNM that the transfers were within the administrative purview of the Diocese of Mysuru and did not comment on the allegations of murder.
In November 2019, 37 priests from various parishes in Mysuru district had accused KA William, Bishop of the Diocese of Mysore, of supporting a priest Leslie Morris, who had allegedly sexually harassed a woman.
Following this, in a letter to the Archbishop of Bengaluru, dated May 24, Justice Michael Saldanha alleged that the Bishop KA William fabricated evidence to cover up a murder of one of the priests, who had complained and signed the letter, which had accused Bishop KA Williams of various offences including sexual misconduct and corruption.
Speaking to TNM, Mysuru bishop KA William too, denied all charges. “I have received the emails from Justice Saldanha. It is all far from the truth. They are making baseless allegations and blackening my name for no reason,” he said.
The bishop terms the transfer of 37 priests and the complaints following the transfer as an internal matter. “Transfers are an administrative matter. The priests have been transferred before, it is nothing new. There is no lockdown or anything for those doing service in the church. Besides, we have ordered transfers on May 29, when everything was relaxed.”
Meanwhile, Justice Saldanha has said that he would be filing an interim reply on the matter. “The Archbishop has transferred about 70 priests during the lockdown in defiance of their own Cardinal's orders to defer transfers for this year, forcing movements during the lockdown in total defiance of government of India regulations,” he added.