Former Church of North India moderator refused bail in fraud case

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The former moderator of the Church of North India was refused bail at a hearing Friday before the Madhya Pradesh High Court and remains in custody on charges of fraud and theft. The Most Rev. P.C. Singh was arrested on 14 Sept 2022  at the Nagpur Airport, Maharashtra, upon his arrival home from Europe following a vacation after the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. 

Officers of the Madhya Pradesh Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the state police allege Bishop Singh diverted tuition payments made to diocesan schools between 2004-2005 and 2011-2012 to his own pocket. It is also alleged Bishop Singh is complicit in the fraudulent sale of church land in partnership with the Bishop in Lucknow, the Rt. Rev. Peter Baldev, who was a fugitive from justice for four months until his arrest in July. 

Bishop Singh and a confederate, BS Solanki were charged with 84 criminal counts, allegedly violating the Indian Penal Code Section 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document or electronic record), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

At the 14 Oct 2022 hearing, attorneys for the bishop – who has been stood down by the Synod of the Church of North India as moderator and Bishop in Jabalpur – protested their client’s innocence.

Last month the EOW raided the bishop’s office and home and seized approximately ₹16.5 million rupees ($207,000) and $18,000 US Dollars in cash along with smaller amounts of other currencies as well as jewelry.  The EOW also said it found evidence of 174 bank accounts controlled by the bishop with deposits ₹20.2 million rupees ($254,000).

An arrest warrant was also issued for Bishop Singh’s son today as an accomplice in defrauding a church run school where he had been appointed headmaster by his father.

The court stated it would review the bishop’s application for bail and issue a ruling in due course.

The case continues.