CSI denies criminal corruption probe is targeting its moderator

TV report alleges multi-million dollar fraud 

The Church of South India has denied its moderator is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for theft.

On 14 July 2018 the CSI synod released a statement stating the Most Rev. Thomas Oomman was the subject of a criminal probe, and further stated the allegations of fraud concerning a CSI owned school were in matters outside his control or responsibilities.

On 10 July 2018 Mathrubhumi News said the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had prepared a report on the actions of the Church of South India Trust, the CSI’s property arm, which d concluded the “trust had violated the Companies Act and executed financial misappropriation worth crores of rupees.”

The news report stated that detectives from the Serious Fraud squad had “conducted raids in various offices of the trust” concerning fraudulent land deals worth $14.5 million. “In order to conceal the fraudulent activities, they have not submitted the balance sheet and annual report of the trust,” Mathrubhumi News said. The article on the broadcaster’s website made no mention of Bishop Oomman, however.

In response the CSI Synod Secretariat released a statement saying:

1. There is no case against the Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, presently Moderator of the Church of South India Synod, as to alleged financial corruption/ misappropriation to the tune of 7.95 crores regarding the Engineering College in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu. In fact, a complaint was preferred in respect of the said college but, after a detailed enquiry by the CBCID, it was found that no case was made out against the Moderator and he was not chargesheeted in the circumstances. The allegations against the Moderator in the case to do with the Tirunelveli College are also false and the case is under investigation.

2. There is no information about the registering of a case for alleged forgery of documents on the complaint filed by a priest in the Tirunelveli Diocese. Moreover, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has not given any direction to file a case against the Moderator.

3. Further, the XV Addl. City Civil Court (District Court at Chennai) had not directed the Moderator to personally appear on 12.6.2018 or on 28.6.2018, much less was any order passed with regard to his passport. The Moderator has preferred an application in Crl.M.P. No. 135 of 2018 under Section 205 (1), Cr.P.C. to dispense with his personal attendance which is pending enquiry. This is apart from the filing of applications under Section 317 of the said Code for individual hearings and the Learned Judge being pleased to allow the same. The case now stands posted to 16.7.2018 for the respondent’s (complainant’s) side arguments in the 205 petition and all the allegations to the contrary are not true.

4. Again, the allegations as to there being evidence that the Moderator is also a party to the multi-crore scam in the Church of South India is equally false and bereft of any basis, especially when there is no such scam.

The CSI been plagued by corruption among its bishops and synod leader. Bishop Oomman was elected moderator partly on his reputation of being untainted by the church’s pervasive corruption.


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