Indian police investigate clergy in church land fraud affair

The Moderator of the Church of South India has been named a subject of interest by police in connection with an alleged fraud scheme

Police in the Southern Indian city of Coimbatore have launched a criminal investigation into the sale of church land, investigating accusations the vicar and parish council of Christ Church Coimbatore sold a parcel of land donated to the church in 1979 at a below market price in return for accepting a bribe from developers. The Rev. Prince Calvin and his fellow defendants were accused on 23 March 2015 of defrauding the church of Rs. 41 million (£450,000). Police have also named the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Most Rev.  G. Devakadasham, (pictured) as a subject of the inquiry saying that when he served as acting bishop of the diocese he approved the transaction. In January 2012 a church court deposed the then bishop of Coimbatore, Manickam Dorai, from office after he was found guilty of theft. Oversight of the diocese pending the election of a new bishop fell to the moderator of the church, who is alleged by police to have exercised questionable judgment in his supervision of the diocese.

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