One of the five people, who alongwith Father Anthony Madassery was picked up by the Khanna police, says the incident has left him humiliated.
Harpal Singh, who has rented out a building to Father Anthony from where he runs his company’s office, also punched a hole in the police theory. He said they were picked up from the Partapura building and not from Doraha as claimed by the Khanna police.
Khanna police on March 29 had claimed to have picked up six people, including Father Anthony and Harpal Singh from Doraha on the outskirts of Jalandhar and recovered Rs 9.66 crore “hawala money” from three vehicles.
“It was shocking for me when police told media that they have picked us from a Naka in Doraha along with hawala money. I felt degraded. I cannot express how shameful it was for me to face even my children and my wife,” he said, adding that police had tarnished the image of an innocent and law abiding person, who had never indulged in anything wrong.
“I have nothing to do with Father Anthony and his business except that I have rented out my building to him. He is running Shodhaya company’s offices from there since 2012-13. A legal agreement was made and I pay tax on the rent I get from the building located in Laddewali locality,” he said. The contract, he said mentions that he was only renting out the building and “for any activities good or bad in the building”, he can’t be held responsible.
He said that as per agreement, if there was any water and power supply related issue “then my tenant informs me and I get it repaired”. That day also, Father Anthony had called him to seek help as there was some issue with the electricity meter.
“I reached Partapura at 4:00 pm on March 29. I met Father Anthony and saw him sitting in a room with huge pile of cash. He told me that bank people were counting the money in the other room at first floor,” Harpal said, adding he was not aware that the priest was running a business worth crores from the building. “After a few minutes, some policemen came in civil clothes and asked Father Anthony to sit in their vehicle”.
“I told them that I have no business link with the priest except that I own that building,” he said.
But the police, he said, “took us to Khanna police station and then left us next morning at around 7:00 am”. Police and Income Tax officials asked a few questions and were satisfied at my replies, he added.
“I do not know why police said that we were picked from a police Naka with Hawala money,” he said wiping tears.
Father Anthony too had rejected the police theory claiming that the money had come from sale of books through a company that he runs with other priests. He has also accused the police of embezzling Rs 6.65 crore claiming that they had actually recovered Rs 16.65 crore and not Rs 9.66 crore that they have shown. The money, he said was taken from the Partapura office and not recovered from vehicles at Doraha.