KOCHI: The case of the missing money, which Fr Antony Madassery claims was misappropriated by the Jalandhar Police, turned murkier on Tuesday with the Diocese of Jalandhar, as well as the South Indian Bank (SIB), coming out strongly to defend the priest. The diocese, in a release, clarified ‘Sahodhaya’ dealt with supply of textbooks and smart boards for schools, contracts for construction of schools and churches, among other things.
These companies are not run by the diocese but are operated in ‘partnership’ with some priests belonging to the diocese as partners with due permission. “It is within the ambit of the law the accounts are audited and Income Tax paid in advance,” said Agnelo Gracias, Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, in a release.
“’Sahodhaya’ had just finished collecting the money from the sale of books to the 70-odd schools in the diocese. It had already deposited Rs 14 crore in the bank and the balance amount of Rs 16.65 crore was to be deposited on March 29. Employees of South Indian Bank (SIB), Jalandhar, were counting the money to deposit the same in the bank,” said the release.
Fr Madassery, a close aide of nun rape case accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has accused the Punjab Police of misappropriating over Rs 6 crore. “The Khanna police have presented Rs 9.66 crore to Income Tax authorities. Nearly Rs 6.65 crore vanished from their hands,” Agnelo said.
SIB, Jalandhar, also verified Fr Madassery’s claims. “On request of our customer ‘Sahodhaya’, we authorised our staff on March 29 to visit FMJ House, village Partapura, Jalandhar, and count the cash, which was eventually to be deposited in their account with us,” said the SIB manager in a release. SIB confirmed its staff were in the process of counting the money when the premises were raided. “Some of the raiding party forcibly seized the cash being counted. The cops took the cash into custody without making any inventory,” it said. The cops have said they will investigate the matter.