Internal feud in Kerala church turns murkier

Internal feud in Kerala church turns murkier

Cardinal George Alencherry

The internal feud in the Syro Malabar Church in Kerala, subsequent to the exposure of a land scam involving Cardinal George Alencherry, is turning murkier after a fresh row over forging documents against the cardinal.

The Kerala Police on Sunday arrested an IIT Madras researcher, identified as Adityan of Kochi, on charges of forging documents against the cardinal. He reportedly told the police that he did the forgery as per Father Antony Kallokkaran’s instruction.

Former spokespersons of the church, Paul Thelakkat and Jacob Manathodath were also arraigned in the forgery case. Thelakkat had allegedly handed over the controversial documents against the cardinal to Manathodath. Manathodath had allegedly raised the document at the synod meeting earlier this year.

A section of senior priests opposed to Alencherry on Monday came out in the open and said that documents against the cardinal were not forged ones. Adityan came across the documents while working with a business establishment and he took the screenshots.

Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese Apostolic Administrator Mar Jacob Manathodath alleged that fresh allegations of forgery was cooked up by those involved in the land scam and demanded a high-level investigation.

Priests also alleged that Adityan was pressurised by the police to name other priests.

The land scam involving the cardinal surfaced last year with allegations that church’s prime lands worth crores of rupees were sold out at a throwaway price.

Subsequent to the land scam row, a fresh controversy triggered earlier this year with a section of priests coming out with documents claiming secret transactions of crores of amounts by the cardinal. But the cardinal’s supporters countered it with the allegations that the documents were forged and a police complaint was lodged.