Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam arrives at the Enforcement Directorate office in Kochi on Wednesday to be questioned in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act case. | Photo Credit: R.K. NITHIN

The Moderator of the Church of South India was questioned for ten hours on Wednesday by police over his role in a scheme to sell admissions to a diocesan owned medical school.

On 24 July 2022 officers of the Enforcement Directorate from the Federal Revenue Department raided the offices of the Diocese of South Kerala, the Dr. Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College, Karakonam, and the homes of the bishop, the diocesan secretary and the college principal seeking evidence of money laundering and corruption. The following day the Most Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam was detained at Thiruvananthapuram international airport as he was about to depart for London to attend the 2022 Lambeth Conference by immigration authorities and summoned to appear at the ED’s Kochi office on 27 July 2022.

Accompanied by his attorneys, Bishop Rasalam was interrogated for ten hours and asked to assist the authorities with their on-going investigations. CSI sources tell Anglican.Ink he was asked not to leave the country. Diocese secretary TT Praveen, who is also a subject of the investigation, had left the country before the ED could block his departure.

In August 2019 the Tamil Nadu medical education commission recommended criminal charges be filed against Bishop Rasalam, the Bishop in South Kerala, and officials from the medical college for selling admission places to aspiring medical students. 

The investigation was launched after 24 students claimed they had been promised a place in the medical school after paying upwards of ₹6 million (approximately $84,000) for a place in the MBBS, BDS or MD programs. “All the office-bearers” of the diocese and school “ were fully aware of the situation and virtually it was wilful cheating,” the findings stated.

A second fraud case was brought against school officials and Bishop Rasalam in 2020 accusing them of forging community certificates to help students gain admission to the school.

The case continues.