Mar Irenios, senior priest to reach Pathanamthitta on Thursday

The other priests will continue in Tamil Nadu as they need to  appear before the investigating officer on a daily basis until further orders.

Published: 17th February 2022 06:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th February 2022 06:37 AM   |  A+A-

Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios

By Express News Service

PATHANAMTHITTA: Pathanamthitta diocese bishop of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Samuel Mar Irenios and Cor Episcopo T Jose Chamakalayil may reach here by Thursday, said a senior priest of the Church. The other priests will continue in Tamil Nadu as they need to appear before the investigating officer on a daily basis until further orders.

“As per the information received on Wednesday, the bishop and cor episcopo can reach here only by Thursday as formalities related to their bail would only be completed by then,” said the priest.

On Tuesday, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court granted bail to Bishop Irenios and five priests who were arrested by the Tamil Nadu CB-CID  in the Kallidaikurichi illegal sand mining case. A press note was issued by the diocese about the bishop and other five priests getting bail.  The diocese authorities expressed gratitude to all who stood with the diocese during the crisis. 

Justice K Murali Shankar passed the order on a joint bail petition filed by Bishop Irenios and other priests on Tuesday. While four of the priests — Fr Shaji Thomas,  Fr S George Samuel Puthenvilayil, Fr Jose Kalavila and Fr Sijo James — were granted bail on the condition that they should appear before the investigating officer on a daily basis until further orders. The judge permitted the bishop and Fr Chamakalayil to appear before the investigating officers only as and when required, since they had submitted that they were undergoing treatment for cancer.

The CB-CID South, Tirunelveli, had arrested the six on February 5 for their alleged involvement in the illegal mining of sand by T Manuel George of Kottayam from the diocese’s land in Tirunelveli. Manuel had originally obtained permission from the Tirunelveli authorities for a stockyard in Kallidaikurichi village. But he misused the permit and illegally mined river sand worth `67 lakh and transported the same to Kerala. 

Based on the directions issued by the HC bench, CB-CID took over the case from Tirunelveli police.
After the arrest, the Church’s Pathanamthitta eparchy issued a press note saying the diocese authorities were arraigned in the case in Tamil Nadu as they were the real owners of the land.

“The diocese has 300 acres in Ambasamudram for the past 40 years. A person named Manuel George was entrusted with cultivating crops in the land based on a contract. Due to Covid outbreak, the diocese authorities had not been able to visit the land directly for the past two years.” Fr Joel P John Powath, PRO of the diocese said in a press note then.

“We have already started procedures to terminate the contract with Manuel George as he had violated the conditions. The diocese has also started legal action against him,” he had said.


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