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Cash for admissions scandal rocks Church of South India: The Church of England Newspaper, July 22, 2011 p 5. July 24, 2011

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

The Bishop-elect in South Kerala, the Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Officials of the Diocese of South Kerala have been accused by an Indian television network of selling admissions to a church-affiliated medical school.  The scandal over the sale of admissions has prompted a walkout of the opposition in the Kerala Assembly and appears to have implicated leaders of the Church of South India (CSI) in another corruption scandal.

Last week the Asianet broadcasting network reported that it obtained a list of 50 students admitted to the church-affiliated Dr Somervell Memorial Medical College located on the grounds of the London Missionary Society (LMS) hospital in Karakonam.  However, the admissions list was drawn up two days before students sat for their entrance exams.

A reporter for Asianet, posing as an official of the Church of South India (CSI), contacted the students on the list and learned that each had made cash payments of up to Rs 50 lakh (£70,000) for a place in the college.  However, the payments were not considered tuition payments and were “off the books.”

Asianet reported that “All those who spoke to us admitted the money was accepted by the CSI management without providing any receipt.”

The funds were collected by “the treasurer of CSI located at the CSI headquarters at LMS in cash. The applicants were clearly told the amount was just a token and annual fees should be paid in extra,” the broadcast said.

After the story was aired, reporters descended upon the LMS compound.  An Asianet reporter and cameraman were allegedly assaulted and had their cameras smashed.  The attack prompted other journalists to visit the hospital, and in the ensuing mêlée police beat a reporter for India Vision TV.

On July 15, the leftist members of the Kerela Assembly walked out in protest.   The Leader of Opposition and former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the state’s Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, the scandal “should should have been more seriously viewed by you and you failed to come out with any strong measures.

In response to the allegations made in the Asianet broadcast and in the subsequent fracas, Mr. Chandy said his government would investigate the affair.

The cash for admissions scandal comes at a difficult time for the diocese, which is currently without a bishop.  In December, Bishop J.W. Gladstone retired as Bishop in South Kerala and Moderator of the CSI.  The principal of the Kerala United Seminary, the Rev. Dr. G. Sobhanam—who was also vice-chairman of the medical school’s board, was subsequently elected by the diocesan synod and confirmed by the CSI’s general synod as the new bishop.  However, Bishop-elect Sobhanam died on March 26, 2011.

The runner up in the election, the Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam, was appointed bishop of the diocese last month in place of Dr. Sobhanam, and will be consecrated on July 23.  Anti-corruption activists are hopeful the new bishop will clean up the diocese.

The lay-led anti-corruption group, the CCC stated this latest scandal is “an unprecedented opportunity to clean up the massive corruption in medical admissions and boost the finances of the diocese should he choose to do so. The big question is whether he has both the motivation and the ability to take on such a challenge.”

The CCC stated that “selling seats in educational institutions is a major source of corruption within the CSI. It not only weakens the moral fibre of the church and those who administer it but also deprives the institution of crores of rupees that would have otherwise come to it every year.”


1. Dr. John S. Dorai - July 24, 2011

The legal ownership of this medical college is vested in the Church of South India Trust Association. Church of South India Trust Association sells Power of Attorney agreements to the Bishops and the Officers of the Dioceses and take their share of commission. The Church of South India Trust Association who is overall controller of these institutions files false returns with the Income Tax Authorities and enjoys tax exemptions. The men behind this corruption is the Moderator, Deputy Moderator, Secretary and the Treasurer of the Church of South India Trust Association who are the Directors of this Registered Company and they shall be immediately arrested. The black money pocketed through these easy means i.e. by selling Power of Attorneys to the Bishops and Officers of the Dioceses by these filchers shall be seized. Their houses shall be raided. Income Tax Department simply issues blanket tax exemptions without any proper scrutiny for the past 64 years..The I.T. Department should take note of it and see that the Church of South India Trust Association is not getting tax exemption any more.

Dr. John S. Dorai
General Secretary

2. Dkonth - July 25, 2011

I don’t think so, by the way the csi south kerala diocese to care the same matter. secreatery Mr. Lowarance is earning money without knowlege of directors or Bishop. Like these people to be suspended from CSI SKD Diocese. congrats to New Bishop and pray.
Annanemous, Dubai

3. The Bishop in South Kerala, the Rt. Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam « Conger's Consecration List - August 17, 2011

[…] a Kerala newspaper article reporting on the consecration.  And a link to a story I wrote for the Church of England Newspaper on his election and a controversy over the diocesan medical […]

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