Andhra: Church land scam runs into hundreds of crores, finds probe

Andhra: Church land scam runs into hundreds of crores, finds probe

U Sudhakar Reddy | TNN |

Updated: Jan 14, 2019, 09:13 IST TNN

Govada Dyvasirvadam(File photo)

HYDERABAD: The massive irregularities of the Church of South India Trust Association (CSIT) being investigated by AP Crime Investigation Department are only a tip of the iceberg. It has been revealed that the arrested accused, archbishop Govada Dyvasirvadam, and his associates, sold away land and swindled several crore rupees. 

Following allegations of fraud across several dioceses of the Church of South India Trust Association, running into thousands of crores, ministry of corporate affairs had entrusted the investigation of all 23 dioceses in the country to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office’s Hyderabad unit. 

SIT was registered as a religious charitable company under the Companies Act. 

AP CID deputy superintendent of police, M Bhaskar, the investigating official in CSIT case, told TOI, “The case AP CID is investigating is irregularities in the sale of five acres at Eluru, in which archbishop Dyvasirvadam was involved. The official book value of the land is 13 crore, however they sold it for 4.6 crore. The registration fee paid is for 13 crore, and there is a loss of 8.4 crore.” 

He said the open market value would be three times the book value, Bhaskar said that with the 4.6 crore money they received, they purchased three acres of land for 81 lakh, but on record they showed a payment of 3.5 crore. 

“In the case we are investigating, has been filed under cheating and criminal breach of trust. Four were named accused, while two of the arrested got anticipatory bail. The accused Bishop is still in judicial remand. We are in touch with SFIO regarding the case,” Bhaskar said.

Interestingly, the CID investigation has proved that so far, Bishop Dyvasirvadam received only 4 lakh into his personal account. 

He said, “Our focus is only on Eluru. There are other allegations made during the course of investigation, showing several such instances. For instance, in Krishna district as per revenue records, land is in the name of CSIT, but the registration is in the name of private persons. In 2003, a similar instance of a society claiming to have ownership of lands in Mylavaram was reported. Out of 62 acres, 42 acres was registered illegally. However, the accused then were acquitted by the court.” 

The DSP said that annual income and expenditure records have not maintained properly by the accused in Eluru case. “They have shown gifts, foreign contribution and interest on deposits as income,” he said. 

The new Bishop of Krishna-Godavari diocese, T George Cornelius, told TOI, “CSI synod will be dealing with the issue at national level. Regarding some old deals, land sale in G Konduru and Kowluru were cases of mistake of fact.” CSI Synod general secretary, DR Sadananda, was not available for comment.


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