Perhaps for the first time a head of Catholic Church has been accused of corruption. Cardinal George Alencherry who is the head of Kochi Based Syro-Malabar Church and also the Archbishop of Ernakulam Archdiocese has been alleged of corruption in dubious land deals.
Last month Archdiocese formed a six man panel to probe into the losses suffered by diocese for dubious land deals since 2015. The commitee in its report which has been sent to pope, recommended strict actions against Cardinal George Alencherry.
Since 2015, five plots belonging to Archdiocese were sold in order to repay loans. The Archdiocese was expected to receive atleast 27 crore from the deals but it only received 9 crore. The report held Archbishop responsible saying he was directly involved in the deal of five plots which were sold after being divided into 36 pieces. The first deed was registered even before it was discussed in consulter’s forum. The receivable value set by the diocese was Rs 27.15 crore whereas the value registered in deeds was only Rs 13,51,44,260. Further the diocese only received Rs 9.16 crore from agent.
The probe committee also found unaccounted money, which it termed a “grave issue”. “Total amount receivable according to 36 deeds is Rs 13.52 crore. But, there is a difference of Rs 13.62 crore between the documented amount and the amount in the curia ( a diocese body) resolution. Receiving unaccounted money is a serious offence as per the Income Tax Act.’’
According to the report there were “numerous instances” of violation of Church law and civil laws along with the lack of transparency and collegiality. “As the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, Alencherry should have taken utmost care in respecting the provisions of Church laws,” the report said.