A special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police, probing into the allegations of a Church priest, who had accused the local police of showing Rs 9.66 crore instead of a total seizure of Rs 16.65 crore from his residence, Friday submitted its report recommending an FIR against three people, including two policemen and a private person.
The SIT report has also negated the claim of the Khanna police that Father Anthony Madassery and five others were picked up from a checkpoint.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta had marked the inquiry to IG (Crime) Praveen Sinha a day after Father Anthony of the Jalandhar Diocese accused the local police of embezzling Rs 6.65 crore seized from his residence.
The Khanna police on March 29 had claimed to have seized Rs 9.66 crore of “hawala” money from six persons, including Father Anthony, from a location near the GT Road at Doraha in Khanna. Two days later, at a press conference, the priest accused police officials of showing Rs 9.66 crore, instead of the Rs 16.65 crore seized from them, and claimed that the cash was accounted for. He said the money came from sale of books carried out by a company that he runs.
However, the Khanna police had dismissed his allegations as baseless and claimed that it was “hawala money” and seized from six occupants of SUVs during a checking following a tip-off.cash seized, cash seized from church priest, cash seized in jalandhar, police, sit, special investigation team, fir, punjab news, indian express news
The inquiry report, sources in the police, said could no ascertain the exact amount of the misappropriated cash as another enquiry is being carried out by the Income Tax department.
The FIR, they said, may be lodged anytime soon at Khanna.
While the names of those indicted by the SIT couldn’t be ascertained, sources said that the report says that two assistant sub-inspector (ASI) level officials and a private person, who informed the police about the huge cash lying at the the priest’s house, misappropriated the money. They allegedly took the misappropriated money in a vehicle, which was not reported to the senior officials at Khanna.
The SIT chief did not respond to repeated phone calls.
During the press conference he addressed on March 31, Father Anthony had said that when the police team, in plain clothes, arrived at his residence, Rs 9.66 crore was lying on the first floor where he was sitting. He had said that two officials from the South Indian Bank were counting money in another.
The South Indian Bank, too, had issued a statement that their staff had counted “over Rs 6 crore when two-three policemen came to the first floor and took away money forcibly without making any inventory”.
The Khanna police had claimed that it had handed over the entire recovered cash to the I-T department and Enforcement Directorate officials. Father Anthony had later submitted documents for book sales worth Rs 31 crore, which his firm had collected in the month of March by selling books to 49 schools. The Jalandhar Diocese had come out in Father Anthony’s support. The man, who has rented out his house to the priest, too had questioned the police theory and accused them of ruining his reputation.