Indian bishop suspended for corruption: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012. June 25, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Corruption.
Tags: Diocese of Medak, G. Devakadasham, Manickam Dorai, T. Samuel Kanaka Prasad
The Church of South India’s Bishop in Medak, the Rt. Rev. T. Samuel Kanaka Prasad has been suspended for corruption by the Synod Executive Committee.
In a letter to the bishop dated 9 June 2012, the Moderator of the CSI Bishop G. Devakadasham stated the Synod Executive Committee had voted on 24 April for suspension in the face of prima facie evidence of corruption, but had been unable to enforce the decision due to a court order blocking the decision secured by Bishop Prasad. However, when the order lapsed on 5 June, the Executive Committee was free to enforce its decision, and ordered Bishop Prasad to step aside, the moderator said.
Bishop Prasad is the second bishop this year to be disciplined by the CSI. On 9 January 2012 the moderator announced that the trial court for bishops had deposed the Bishop in Coimbatore, the Rt. Rev. Manickam Dorai for corruption. However, corruption remains widespread in the Indian church, lay activists charge, telling The Church of England Newspaper that only “8 or 9” of the CSI’s 21 current bishops were untainted by corruption charges.
One of India’s wealthiest dioceses, the Hyderabad-based Medak diocese has witnessed legal and physical fights between the bishop and his opponents. On 10 June 2012, the Deccan Chronicle reported that police were called out to separate the bishop’s men from anti-corruption activists who rallied for Bishop Prasad to go.
In his letter to Bishop Prasad, the Moderator accused him of “not functioning and discharging the responsibilities of Bishop of CSI Medak Diocese in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the CSI, the directions of the Synod or its Executive Committee and the Council of Bishops.”
“In particular it was brought to the notice of the Executive Committee that you are misusing your position as Bishop, acting as attorney of the CSITA even after the lapse of the power of attorney and committing various illegalities in the administration, supervision and preservation of the properties of the Church. The members expressed shock and anxiety over the same and demanded immediate action against you by the Synod.”
CSI Deputy Moderator Bishop G. Dyvasirvadam of Krishna Godavari was appointed Moderator’s Commissary for Medak by the Executive Committee following Bishop Prasad’s suspension, and a nine-member administrative committee led by a retired Director General of Police has been charged with auditing the diocese’s books.
In addition to accusations of financial malfeasance, Bishop Prasad has been charged with violating canon and civil corporate law. In 2011 Bishop Prasad banned his opponents from standing for election to the diocesan council and waived rules that forbade sitting council members from serving more than two consecutive terms – subsequently producing a council composed of the bishop’s cronies.
The CSI General Synod refused to recognize the election and attempted to block the seating of the diocese’s delegates at its January meeting to elect a new primate. However, Bishop Prasad was able to secure a court order allowing his men to be seated at the 33rd meeting of Synod.
The anti-corruption pressure group, the CCC [Christ-Centered Coalition] applauded the Synod’s decision to suspend Bishop Prasad, but asked whether its decision was influenced by Bishop Prasad’s support for the losing candidate in the election for moderator this year.
“What is disconcerting is the double standards being applied by the current synod administration in handling cases of Episcopal corruption,” the CCC said. The CSI Moderator had allowed the Bishops in Rayalaseema and Dornakal to retire rather than face corruption investigations. “Is it only a coincidence that both the Rayalseema and Dornakal bishops who supported Moderator Devakadasham and his deputy Dyvasirvadam at the Synod polls in January have got away with their crimes while Bishop Kanaka Prasad who supported their opponents (the Bishops in Madras and Karimnagar) has had punitive action taken against him,” the CCC asked.
Bishop Prasad did not respond to our request for comments, but his son, William Carry told the Deccan Chronicle his father would fight the suspension.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.