jump to navigation

Tax investigation launched into Indian church finances: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011 p 8. March 25, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India.

Former CSI General Secretary Pauline Sathiamurthy: Photo from the World Council of Churches website

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

An investigation into the misappropriation of Tsunami relief funds by the Church of South India (CSI) has been launched by India’s income tax authority.

On Dec 16, 2010, the Deputy Director of the Income Tax Department in Madras sent a formal notice to Bennett Abraham, the treasurer of the Church of South India Trust Association (CSITA), asking for an accounting of foreign donations, including cash collected for the “Tsunami Relief Fund” managed by the church.

The CSI was also asked to account for the proceeds from the sale of church properties including the American College in Kodaidanal, provide a listing of bank accounts maintained by the synod and dioceses, account for funds donated to the “Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund”, and account for the proceeds of commercial property rents collected by the Karnataka North Diocese, the Deccan Chronicle reported.

The CSI treasurer’s office was asked to furnish the information within five days.  However, two extensions of time have been granted to the church to gather the requested information.

Corruption has become a major issue within the life of the CSI as fraud and misconduct charges have been leveled against several bishops over the past year, with one bishop, Manickam Doria, under criminal investigation for fraud.  In October 2009, a warrant was issued for the arrest of the former General Secretary of the CSI, Dr. Pauline Sathiamurthy, accusing her of stealing almost £1 million of the tsunami relief funds donated to the CSI by the Episcopal Church.

%d bloggers like this: