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CSI bishop suspended for corruption: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2012, p 6. February 17, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Corruption.
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Bishop K.B. Yesuvaraprasad

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Church of South India has placed the Bishop in Rayalaseema on terminal leave in the wake of corruption allegations leveled by members of the diocese.

Last week the newly elected Moderator of the CSI, Bishop G. Devakadasham reported he had removed Bishop K.B. Yesuvaraprasad from office and appointed the Deputy Moderator, Bishop G. Dyvasirvadam as his commissary pending the election of a new bishop.

Elected bishop in 2006 of the diocese located in India’s South Central Andhra Pradesh State, Bishop Yesuvaraprasad (whose name means ‘Gift of Christ’) has enjoyed a turbulent tenure.

Shortly after his election, the bishop allegedly abrogated the diocesan constitution and appointed supporters to key positions on the diocesan council, while leaving other seats vacant.  In November 2009 a criminal complaint was filed against the bishop by Dr. Thomas Reddy accusing the bishop and his treasurer of stealing £100,000 from diocesan coffers.

The bishop allegedly was also involved in selling diocesan assets given to the diocese by th e London Missionary Society for his own benefit, mortgaging diocesan properties and keeping the proceeds, and collecting rents on diocesan properties and not turning them over to the diocese.  A 2010 report commissioned by the CSI Synod estimated the bishop and his cronies had cost the church £765,000 in defalcations and had committed a “serious offence and breach of trust.”

The bishop and his confederates were also accused of offering no-bid contracts for building projects and receiving kickbacks in return from the contractors.  The total amount of the thefts is so far unknown, but a criminal investigation into the bishop’s conduct is on-going.

However, the 2010 synod investigation found that it was not out of “ignorance” that these actions occurred.  The bishop and his cronies had engaged in a “deliberate attempt to misuse the funds and also to harm the diocese.”

The anti-corruption watchdog, CCC, commented that while it was pleased the bishop had been stood down from office, it noted that he was scheduled to retire in March 2012 anyway.  It would be a “crying shame” to allow the bishop to “retire quietly and draw a pension after committing heinous crimes against the church.”

However, the CCC said it did not expect “any action” to be taken.  The terminal leave imposed on the bishop was “largely inconsequential,” but criminal charges lodged by the members of the diocese were outstanding.

Of the CSI’s 21 diocesan bishops, only “8 or 9” were untainted by corruption scandals, the CCC reported.  “That the CSI Synod has turned a blind eye to [Bishop Yesuvaraprasad’s] crimes and not registered even one criminal complaint against him will always stand as stark testimony to the corruption and incompetence that has been the hallmark of successive Synod administrations,” it said.

Bishop Yesuvaraprasad and the CSI synod’s offices concerning the bishop’s suspension and the outstanding criminal charges were not answered as of our going to press.

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