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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Kerala: After ED raids, Church of South India bishop detained at airport

Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam, who was scheduled to travel to the UK to attend a church event, was detained at Thiruvananthapuram international airport at the Enforcement Directorate’s behest

A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided multiple premises of the Church of South India (CSI) in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with an alleged money laundering case, CSI South Kerala Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam was on Tuesday detained at Thiruvananthapuram international airport.

The bishop, who was scheduled to travel to the UK to attend a church event, was detained by immigration officials at the behest of the ED. Bishop Rasalam was asked to turn up before ED officials as part of the probe.

The raids were held as part of an ED probe into the case that the church-run Dr Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College, Karakonam, had accepted a capitation fee for MBBS admission and that the deal involved black money. The premises that were raided included the residences of Bishop Rasalam, medical college director Dr Bennet Abraham, who had contested in Lok Sabha elections in 2014, and CSI church secretary Praveen.

Earlier, the CSI church had faced allegations that capitation fees collected from students were parked in a separate account without any receipts or bills. Admissions to the college had been embroiled in a controversy after 11 students were found having produced fake community certificates in 2018.

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Last year, the state Crime Branch had investigated the allegation that the college did not give admission to students from whom capitation fees were collected. Although the Crime Branch had reported to the court that it could not find evidence for the alleged crime, the court early this year had rejected the probe report.

Church spokesman Fr Jayaraj told media that the court had exonerated the bishop and nothing incriminating against him had emerged from the ED raid.

First published on: 26-07-2022 at 10:13:05 am
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