Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, the head of the powerful Syro-Malabar Church, has filed an appeal against the Kerala High Court’s order to initiate an FIR against him by the Kochi Central Police, according to news agency ANI. The case has been registered under IPC Sections 420, 406, 120(b) and 402. Last week, the Kerala High Court had ordered the police to register the case against Alencherry, acting on a petition from a Catholic faithful belonging to the archdiocese, accusing him of a land deal fraud. The High Court is slated to hear the case on March 16.
The Cardinal along with others is accused of selling a piece of prime property for ‘a very low price’ causing losses to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese. It is alleged that the sale of 3.06 acres of land belonging to the church in Kochi should have fetched Rs 27 crore, substantially more than the Rs 9 crore it actually fetched
The churches also suspected the role of land mafia in the deal. A six-member panel appointed by the archdiocese also found alleged corruption in the land deal and it subsequently reported to the Vatican.
Hundreds of priests on Friday marched to Alencherry’s residence in Kochi and demanded that he should refrain from his responsibilities in the wake of court’s order.
Father Joshy Puthuva, Father Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and broker Saju Varghese are the others accused in the case.