Peter Baldev. Via Facebook

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court in India has refused to quash the indictment of the bishop in Lucknow, the Rt. Rev. Peter Baldev, who on 9 April 2022 was charged with racketeering and fraud.

Lawyers for the bishop on 30 June 2022 sought to have a First Information Report (FIR) lodged against the bishop under India’s Gangsters Act by Lucknow police struck off. After a review of the pleadings and oral argument a two judge bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava rejected the bishop’s plea.

“After having examined the submissions advanced by learned counsel for the parties and perused the impugned FIR, we are of the opinion that the impugned FIR discloses cognizable offence against the petitioner,” said the court according to an account of the proceedings published by the Hindustan Times.

“Hence, no interference is called for by this court in its extraordinary power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for quashing of the FIR or for grant of any interim relief to the petitioner. The petition lacks merit and is, accordingly, dismissed,” the court ruled.

In 2019 Bishop Baldev along with 16 others was charged with forgery and fraud for allegedly transferring title to church properties worth $125 million dollars belonging to the Indian Church Trustees and then selling the property. The case continues.