KOCHI: The controversy surrounding land deals by Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese continues to haunt the Syro Malabar Church with the Kerala Catholic Association for Justice (KCAJ), an advocacy group for reforms in the Church, alleging forged documents were used to sell its land.
KCAJ has lodged a complaint with the Kochi City Police demanding an investigation into forgery of documents used to sell off 27.9 acres at Vazhakala in Kochi.
Paulachan Puthupara, who lodged the complaint with the police, told media persons on Thursday he has made Cardinal George Alencherry, finance officer of Ernakulam-Angamali Diocese Fr Joshy Puthuva and Saju Varghese, a native of Vazhakala, as respondents. The complaint was lodged at Ernakulam Central Police Station on Wednesday.
The allegation is over the sale of the land on March 20, 2017. The land was sold to seven persons. It was following a meeting held on December 19, 2016, the decision was taken to dispose of the land with the consent of Cardinal Alencherry.
Fr Joshy was entrusted to carry out disposal of the land and Saju acted as a middleman. Paulachan alleged the land at Vazhakala did not possess proper title deed and this led the Church to adopt fraudulent measures to see the sale take place without any delay.
“The forged title deed was prepared claiming it to be issued by the 1976 Ernakulam Land Tribunal from File 392 carrying the number 197. Joshy presented this forged title deed before Vazhakala Village Office and completed mutation of the property. This title deed was used to sell off the land to seven persons preparing seven land documents,” he said.
However, after receiving a copy of the title deed used for mutation of land through RTI, it was revealed it was issued to Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese on behalf of Archbishop Mar Joseph Parekattil. “However, those who prepared the forged document committed a terrible mistake. In 1976, there was no Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese. Instead, it was only Ernakulam Archdiocese at that time. It was only in 1992, the Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese was formed,” he claimed.
Following the suspicion, an RTI was filed at the Land Tribunal to receive a copy of the old title deed. “However, the RTI reply claimed the copy of such a land title deed was not available at the office. Another title deed OA 392/1975 was available at the office. However, that title deed was in the name of one Kunjithatha, a resident of Kumbalam. That title deed was registered on March 3, 1976, just three days before the title deed of Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese was registered,” he said.
He said the police should register an FIR and conduct an investigation. “If the police hesitate to register an FIR, we will approach the Kerala High Court. Forgery of documents is punishable under the IPC and can attract imprisonment up to 10 years,” he said.Even though attempts were made to contact the spokesman of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, he could not be reached over the phone.
The Kerala Catholic Association for Justice has lodged a complaint with the Kochi City Police demanding an investigation into forgery of documents used to sell off 27.9 acres at Vazhakala in Kochi.