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ED probe likely into money seizure from Believers Church

There have been fund transfers to a few people associated with political parties in the state and the agencies are collecting more details about it.

Published: 12th November 2020 05:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th November 2020 05:27 AM   |  A+A-

EXPRESS ILLUSTRATION

Express News Service

KOCHI: More trouble is brewing for Tiruvalla-headquartered Believers Eastern Church of self-styled evangelist K P Yohannan as Enforcement Directorate (ED) is in the process of launching a detailed probe into the Church activities after Income Tax department unearthed massive unaccounted money transactions carried out by different trusts under the Church.ED will join the probe as IT raids have found that largescale money laundering has taken place through   various trusts which exist only on paper.

IT officials said a detailed report has been prepared and submitted to Ministry of Finance based on the findings of the raids conducted on 66 premises of the Church which include its headquarters and a medical college hospital run by the church at Tiruvalla. “Relevant information has been shared with ED after the raids found that accounts of the trusts have been used for money laundering purpose. There have been fund transfers to a few people associated with political parties in the state and the agencies are collecting more details about it. Currently the probe is focused on four to five people who are at the helm of the Church’s day to day functioning,” said an IT official.

The activities of a few persons managing the finances of the Church have been under radar for quite some time after a group of persons under the banner of Believers Eastern Church Save Forum raised protests against them. “We have raised complaints against those who have totally hijacked the functioning of the Church and been managing things as per their personal interests,” said Stephen Isaac of the Forum. Though reports said the raids resulted in seizure of `14.5 crore unaccounted money, an official statement of IT department said “unexplained cash of approximately `6 crore has been found during the search including `3.85 crore in a place of worship in Delhi.”

However, the IT department said “the evidence found so far indicate that the siphoning of funds in cash may be running into hundreds of crores of rupees” and the group belonging to the evangelist routed unaccounted money through organisations which remained only on paper.

Money laundering
ED will join the probe as IT raids have found that largescale money laundering has taken place



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