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Church of South India Leaders Face Ongoing Fraud and Corruption Charges

Church of South India Leaders Face Ongoing Fraud and Corruption Charges
"A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal": Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

By Dr. Joseph G. Muthuraj
Special to VIRTUEONLINE
www.virtueonline.org
March 3, 2018

The Moderator of the Church of South India (CSI), Rt. Rev. Thomas Oommen, is seeking to tackle the crisis in the CSI through ad hoc groups consisting of bishops, members of the Synod and people who shouldn't be in them.

The Moderator asks them to meet in a particular place at short notice. No efforts are made to convene official meetings of the constitutional bodies such as the Executive Committee or special Synods to reflect on, discuss through and find solutions to the overwhelming problems of the CSI.

The CSI is under the delusion that there are currently no problems faced by the CSI and that it is all hype created by certain trouble makers and anti-church individuals!

The Moderator believes that if those disgruntled persons are excommunicated, then all problems of corruption in the CSI will vanish.

The meetings in the CSI are conducted without clear agendas, written reports or detailed minute books. For the last five years, minutes of key meetings have not been distributed to members. They are not made available to ordinary members of the church. The fear is that they might fall in the hands of some who might use them to launch and possibly win court cases against the administration of the CSI.

Minutes are manufactured and kept in secret. Official communication in the form of letters from the Synod and diocesan offices are very rare, and matters are often communicated either orally or through brief SMS messages. People are kept in the dark over what is going on at the official level. Decisions are taken among the four office-bearers and they are implemented or not implemented according to the will of the Moderator.

The CSI Trust Association which has a huge annual turn-over has not submitted financial statements with balance-sheets to the Government for the last three years, which is a corporate offence. As a result, it is on the threshold of losing its incorporated status.

Twenty First Century Moderators substituted themselves for committees that were given authority to take decisions as per the Constitution. As a result, the Moderators have become a law unto themselves.

The CSITA management is in a legal morass, with cases filed in the courts exposing its corruption and the misdeeds of the CSI administration coupled with the revision of the CSI Constitution which reflects the styles of authoritarian administration like that of Bishop Dyva; the CSI leadership is living in a zone of uncertainty.

The CSITA and its mismanagement are presently under the scanner, and Government legal machineries are getting ready to pursue their investigations into the unlawful deeds of the Trust Association despite the CSI hierarchy using all its resources and influence to stop officials from getting to the root of their fraudulent activities.

The CSI Trust Association is a decaying and moribund company, but refuses to allow either the Government or Court or the beneficiaries to save it from extinction.

The National Company Law Tribunal issued an interim order in November, 2016 removing all the CSITA members/directors and has appointed a retired judge to be the head of the new Administrative committee. This order was stayed by the Madras High Court, as a result of a petition from the CSI hierarchy.

The present CSI Moderator has deviated from the constitutional path and has arbitrarily split the CSI synod, a unitive and supreme legislative body into fragments called fellowship groups, based on language and region. Recently, he convened a meeting of the Synod members of the Kerala region and made key decisions for the entire church of five regions. More recently, he held two fellowship meetings with synod members of the Tamil Nadu region bifurcated by him.

Such meetings do not focus on the problems of the church, rather they become scheming centers for assisting the Moderator and his appointees to survive in their positions.

The Moderator either suffers from a persecution complex, a mental disorder in which a person falsely believes that enemies are disrupting his prophetic work, or is he trying to receive sympathy and support for himself by branding certain persons as not only his enemies but also enemies of the church?

He has allegedly ceased to believe in the Constitution of the Church of South India as a document which can guide the church at this present critical juncture.

The CSI is in the hands of the children of former bishops and Moderators who are proving to be worse frauds and corruption-mongers than their fathers. The present Moderator is tolerating them through compromises.

Corruption and Fraud are Major Ingredients of the Historic Episcopacy

Here are profiles of former infamous Twenty-First Century Moderators of the Church of South India with respect to land and properties and who enjoyed luxurious living as bishops of dioceses and ex-officio chairmen of the Trust Association which manages the assets and the finances of the church.

It is alleged that former Moderator Sugandhar (2004-2008) during his 15-year tenure as Bishop of the Diocese of Medak which included tenures of Deputy Moderator and Moderator, not only accumulated crores of rupees (millions of dollars) from various sources of churches and educational institutions of the Medak diocese, but also misused his power and received crores of rupees as advance amounts from various construction builders for leasing seven prime lands of the diocese. He safely retired in 2009 and left 17 crores of Bank loans unpaid which were taken in the name of Medical College, which he left as an empty building. The Diocese continues to pay the loan interest of 1.75 crores per annum. The bank has sealed the college and taken it into custody. It is also up for sale, sources say.

The following is the list of lands and properties (either leased, or mortgaged) on which hundreds and thousands of dollars were collected as advance payments from various Building and Construction firms by Bishop Sugandhar. The list was compiled by eminent members of the Medak diocese.

This is the list of prime properties leased or mortgaged in 2004-2005. 1) Wesley Bagh Ramkote (1.16 Acres); 2) St. Luke's Church property (3,013 sq. yds); 3) Wesley Girls Hostel (10,000 sq. yds); 4) Wesley Boys Hostel (10,000 sq. yds); 5) Widows Home, Secunderabad (1500 sq. yds); 6) Wesley High School (9000 sq. yds); 7) Fins Quarters Secunderabad (3,170 sq. yds)

They report that the current bishop, the Rt. Rev. A.C. Solomon, wants to revise the agreements made earlier in order to obtain fresh kick-backs. There is evidence to show that successive CSITA Administrations under different chairmen (who are also CSI Moderators) were complicit in this scandal through deliberate acts of commission and omission. Successive CSITA administrations led by Moderators J.W. Gladstone (2008-2010), S. Vasanthakumar (2010-2012) G. Devakadasham (2012-2014) and G. Dyvasirvadam (2014-2017) have refused to probe into this massive scandal of making money out of church properties.

Can the present Moderator Thomas Oommen, who thinks that he is constructively working for the development of the CSI, not do something to investigate these affairs and redeem the above properties?

The other person is Bishop Dyvasirvadam who officiated as the Bishop of Medak diocese for two years when he was the Moderator.

Bishop Dyvasirvadam's corrupt life has been exposed by numerous writers and whistle-blowers as he holds the record for nine First Information Reports (FIR) filed against him with the Crime Investigation Police.

The charges in the FIRs range from cheating to molestation. In the most recent FIR (13 October 2017) he was accused of various criminal acts punishable under the Indian Penal Code, including misappropriation of church properties worth millions of dollars for which he was arrested. He was discharged on condition that he make himself available for further inquiries. He later went into hiding. Recently he appeared for his farewell meeting with his fellow bishops as he retires mid-March.

His petition to the court, pleading (again) for quashing the First Information Report submitted to the Criminal Branch of Police Investigation, was dismissed by the court (15.02.2018). The investigation into Dyvasirvadam's crimes will continue. His three associates, including his nephew named in the FIR, are denied anticipatory bail to save them from getting arrested.

When Bishop Dyvasirvadam was elected as Moderator, he made the Medak diocese spend $8,000 USD for the felicitation ceremony expenses. Dyva was an acting bishop in 6 dioceses at one time. All the dioceses and institutions in the rich cosmopolitan cities of south India were under his control.

Another former Moderator Devakadashm is retiring and the present Moderator takes charge of his diocese from 1 March 2018. There are countless allegations against this man including cheating, dishonesty, forgery and illegal land sale dealings, bribery and abuse of power allegedly committed during his 17-year tenure as the bishop of Kannyakumari diocese.

The Rev. Dr. Muthuraj, is a former member of St. John's College, Durham and a graduate of the University of Durham, UK. Through his publications, he has been established as a CSI historian who currently writes on the relationship between the united churches and the Anglican Communion. He has been one of the strongest voices in the global theological communion appealing for a renewal of Episcopacy to bring an end to the corruption in the Church of South India.

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