04/30/2019, 14.00
INDIA
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Kerala police: documents accusing Card. Alencherry "fabricated”

The head of the Syro-Malabar Church has been under investigation since March 2018. A member of the local church had accused him and three others of having sold off land in the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. The Cardinal's defense team claims that the trials wanted to discredit him ahead of the last Synod.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Bank accounts presented as evidence against Card. George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church (one of the three rites of the Indian Catholic Church), "have been falsified". This was established by the Kerala police after months of investigation.

The documents to which the agents refer are those pertaining to the scandal involving the sale of land owned by the Church in which the cardinal had been involved last year. An appeal presented in defense of the cardinal claims that the evidence was fabricated to discredit it before the Synod of Bishops, which was held in the Vatican last October.

The group of investigators reports that the Indian cardinal is not in possession of any bank account, as claimed by the prosecution. K A Vidyadharan, deputy police superintendent of Aluva, declares: "It has been proved that the cardinal has no bank accounts used for the transfer of money [...] However we have not yet discovered the source that falsified the documents".

The procedure against Card. Alencherry, two priests (Fr. Joshy Puthuva and Fr. Sebastian Vadakkumpadan) and the broker Saju Varghese date back to last March, when the High Court of Kerala ordered the opening of an investigation. According to the plaintiff, Mr. Cherthala's Shine Varghese, the four sold some land in Kochi belonging to the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly without the prior authorization of the ecclesiastical bodies and financial advisors of the diocese.

The land sales took place in the period between April 1, 2015 and November 30, 2017. The Cardinal also came under the spotlight because 200 local priests organized a street demonstration in which they asked the Cardinal to clarify the matter. For the accusers, the "reckless" real estate operation would have cost the Church a loss of 10 million dollars compared to the land’s actual market value.

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