KOCHI: For the last three months, Reji P Varghese of Kurichi, has been knocking at the doors of police seeking an inquiry into the alleged role of an Orthodox Church priest in his wife’s suicide. Though he knows that he is taking on a mighty clergyman, he doesn’t want to lose faith in country’s legal system. However, he is apprehensive that truth will be suppressed and the priest will go scot free.
Reji has lodged complaints with the CMO, the headquarters of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, and the police, seeking action against the accused priest identified as Father Varghese Marcos. Reji complained that the priest had sexually abused his wife and later started blackmailing her for money. The priest had allegedly extracted nearly `6 lakh from his wife.
“She confessed to the mistake to us and we settled the issue within our family. However, the priest continued to harass her, and on September 4, 2018, she committed suicide by setting herself ablaze. She was forced to take the extreme step after the priest harassed her over phone. We have complained that the priest should be booked for abetting the suicide and he should be expelled from the Church,” he said.
He said the Church constituted a five-member committee to look into the complaint, but no action was initiated so far.
Malankara Orthodox Church spokesperson Fr Johns Abraham Konat said the Church had conducted a detailed probe into the complaint, but is awaiting the final report of the police. “Let the police conclude its probe into allegations of suicide abetment against the priest. Based on the police findings, we will take an appropriate decision,” he said.
Kottayam district police chief Hari Sankar said the probe is on in connection with the complaint lodged by Reji P Varghese.“We are collecting statements. As the main allegation against the priest was abetting the suicide, we need to have strong evidence against the priest,” he said. Police said the priest had given an altogether different reason for the woman’s suicide. “We are verifying the details and corroborating the statements.”