Andhra Pradesh CID unearths massive land scam in The Church of South India Trust Association (CSIT)

While probing into the financial irregularities in the Church of South India Trust Association (CSIT), Andhra Pradesh CID has unearthed a massive land scam. It is revealed that Archbishop Govada Dyvasirvadam along with his associates, sold away lands belonging to the Church in cheap rates and swindled crores of rupees. The Archbishop has already been taken into custody.

Following allegations of fraud against several dioceses under the Church of South India Trust Association, ministry of corporate affairs had entrusted the investigation of all 23 dioceses in the country to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office’s Hyderabad unit.

AP CID deputy superintendent of police, M Bhaskar, the investigating official in CSIT case, told TOI, “The case AP CID is investigating is irregularities in the sale of five acres at Eluru, in which archbishop Dyvasirvadam was involved. The official book value of the land is 13 crore, however they sold it for 4.6 crore. The registration fee paid is for 13 crore, and there is a loss of 8.4 crore.”

He said the open market value would be three times the book value, Bhaskar said that with the 4.6 crore money they received, they purchased three acres of land for 81 lakh, but on record they showed a payment of 3.5 crore.

“In the case we are investigating, has been filed under cheating and criminal breach of trust. Four were named accused, while two of the arrested got anticipatory bail. The accused Bishop is still in judicial remand. We are in touch with SFIO regarding the case,” Bhaskar said.

Interestingly, the CID investigation has proved that so far, Bishop Dyvasirvadam received only 4 lakh into his personal account.

He said, “Our focus is only on Eluru. There are other allegations made during the course of investigation, showing several such instances. For instance, in Krishna district
as per revenue records, land is in the name of CSIT, but the registration is in the name of private persons.

In 2003, a similar instance of a society claiming to have ownership of lands in Mylavaram was reported. Out of 62 acres, 42 acres was registered illegally. However, the accused then were acquitted by the court.”

The DSP said that annual income and expenditure records have not maintained properly by the accused in Eluru case. “They have shown gifts, foreign contribution and interest on deposits as income,” he said.

The new Bishop of Krishna-Godavari diocese, T George Cornelius, told TOI, “CSI synod will be dealing with the issue at national level. Regarding some old deals, land sale in G Konduru and Kowluru were cases of mistake of fact.” CSI Synod general secretary, DR Sadananda, was not available for comment.