Vatican replaces Kerala cardinal as Ernakulam archdiocese head after allegations of suspicious financial deals

Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal George Alencherry was on Friday divested of all administrative powers as the Ernakulam archdiocese head in Kerala.

The action against Alencherry was taken by the Vatican due to charges of suspicious financial dealings and huge loss to the church, reported The Indian Express.

Alencherry will remain as cardinal and head of the Syro-Malabar Church but will not have any role in the governance of the Ernakulam archdiocese.

File image of Alencherry. News18

File image of George Alencherry. News18

The Times of India further reported that the new administrator of the Ernakulam archdiocese has been told to bring back unity in the church and involve an independent company to conduct an audit of the economic and financial management of the Ernakulam archdiocese in recent years.

In March this year, police had registered a case against Alencherry and three others on a complaint alleging irregularities in land deals in the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.

The FIR was registered nearly a week after the Kerala High Court ordered the police to do so against the cardinal, priests Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakkumpadan, and middleman Saju Varghese on a petition filed by Shine Varghese from Cherthala.

Shine had moved the high court, saying that the Ernakulam Central Police had not registered an FIR on his complaint against the cardinal and others over the land deals.

They were named in the complaint alleging criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and cheating in the sale of over three acres of land, worth crores of rupees, belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.

Earlier, a six-member church committee, which probed the alleged irregularities, said it had found numerous instances of violation of canon and civil laws. It had recommended necessary action against those responsible.

The panel, comprising priests, was appointed by Alencherry.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jun 23, 2018 20:26 PM

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