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Land scam in Church of South India Trust runs into hundreds of crores: Report

The ministry of corporate affairs had ordered an investigation by SFIO into all the 23 dioceses of the CSI.

A massive land scam allegedly committed by Church of South India Trust Association (CSIT) has been unearthed by the Andhra Pradesh CID and Serious Fraud Investigation Office’s Hyderabad unit. The investigation has revealed that the arrested accused, Archbishop Govada Dyvasirvadam and his associates have sold away land and swindled several crore rupees, reported Times of India.

According to reports, Bishop Govada Dyvasirvadam was arrested in December for misappropriating church funds to the tune of hundreds of crores. During the investigation, the AP CID officials had found that there were irregularities in selling away of the CSITA’s land, misuse of deposits and foreign funds.

After finding serious allegations of fraud worth thousands of crores across several dioceses of the Church of South India Trust Association, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had ordered the investigation of all 23 dioceses in the country to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office’s (SFIO) Hyderabad. Initially, based on ROC report SFIO had begun the probe in 2016 and revealed the scam of the sale of land and money diversion from the accounts is bigger than what has been suspected.

M Bhaskar, DSP of Andhra Pradesh CID, who is the investigating officer in CSIT case had said that the case pertains to irregularities in the sale of five acres at Eluru, in which Archbishop Dyvasirvadam was involved.

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“The official book value of the land is Rs 13 crore however they sold it for Rs 4.6 crore. The registration fee paid for Rs 13 crore. There is a loss Rs 8.4 crores. Moreover, the open market value would be three times more than the book value. The received Rs 4.6 crore and purchased three acres of land for 81 lakh, but on record, they showed a payment of Rs 3.5 crore,” Bhaskar said.

The senior CID officer said that they have filed a case under cheating and criminal breach of trust. Along with Archbishop Govada Dyvasirvadam, GS Sudhir (his nephew), Gall Pramila Kumari, Rev. Ratnaraj, Dasari Christopher, Solomon, Rev, Advocate G Emmanuel and a few others were also mentioned in the complaint.

According to the AP CID, there have been several other irregularities pertaining to CSIT land dealings. “Our case focus is on only Eluru. There are other allegations made during the course of the investigation that several such instances were done. For instance in Krishna district as per revenue records, certain land is in the name of CSIT but the registration is in the name of private persons,” said Bhaskar.

The investigating agency said the Church congregation has not maintained the annual income and expenditure records properly. The CSIT has reportedly shown gifts, foreign contribution and interest on deposits as income.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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