Irregularities in land deals - HC quashes Chikkamagaluru bishop, priest's plea

Daijiworld Media Network – Chikkamagaluru (MS)

Chikkamagaluru, Feb 12: Michael Sadananda Baptist, member of administrative committee of St Joseph's Educational Society in the city, has welcomed the quashing of the Writ petition filed before the high court by first accused bishop T Anthony Swamy and second accused, former vice president of the society Fr A Shantaraj for quashing of the Proceedings of the case registered at the Town police station, Chikkamagaluru against them for illegally committing the sale of two sites that were reserved for the construction of hostel building of St Joseph’s boys high school.

In a press conference, Michael gave the details of the case and said, "A criminal case was registered under IPC sections 34 and 406 on the two accused for misleading the Urban Development Authority and City Municipality by providing wrong documents as the Land which was kept reserved for Hostel Purposes was converted into 6 residential sites in the name of President, In addition, they kept the administrative committee of St Joseph's Educational Society in the dark and indulged in the proceedings of the sale of the two sites, which are worth crores of rupees.

Michael Sadananda Baptist with other church leaders

“First accused bishop T Anthony Swamy and second accused Fr Shantaraj had got a stay of eight weeks when the police investigation was going on in the case. However, the honourable high court, which went through the documents which was provided by the complainant, quashed the writ petition that was filed by the accused and ordered the Police to investigate the matter further.

“Under these circumstances, the Advocate of the diocese V T Thomas, who is also working as a Lokayukta lawyer (whose wife is the principal of St. Joseph’s PU College, Chikkamagaluru) has misled the public in the press conference held by him on behalf of the accused on October 24, 2019 by giving false statement by submitting some documents during the press meet. The complainant has clarified that this statement and documents furnished were contrary to the actual decision had taken in matter of the illegal attempt of sale of the property, V T Thomas has with the malicious intent of framing the Secretary of the Society, mislead the public through media and has made false accusations. With regard to the General Body and Administrative Committee meetings that concluded on June 22, 2018, he has given a false statement to the press, which is far from the real decisions that were concluded at these meetings. It is truly appalling that he has given statements to the press that are opposing the true decisions of the meetings and has gone ahead and told the press that, ‘The committee has unanimously decided in favor of the sale of the property’.

“He has further hidden the facts and stated that there was consensus achieved on the sale of the property and this was recorded in the resolution book. He also went on to further state in false statements that the Secretary of the Society has in his own handwriting recorded this resolution in order to frame the President and the Vice President, has scratched out this resolution in the book and that all the members of the committee have approved on this matter of the sale of the property.

“In reality, the truth is that the committee had decided not to proceed with the sale of the property since it is illegal, against the bylaws and would have caused huge loss to the society. There is clear proof that the statement is a systematic and predetermined lie and false accusations were driven through V T Thomas’ statement. While the minutes of the meeting were captured correctly, V T Thomas has presented only partial documents and few pages of these minutes to support his false claim. He has combined these pages with a page from the Resolution Book to paint a false picture that the sale of the property was unanimously approved. The page submitted by him has a correction vide human error while taking notes and he has used this correction to falsely accuse the Secretary of misconduct, since the Secretary was made witness to this case. This human error has been rectified on the following page, which clearly states that the committee has decided to NOT proceed with the sale of the property. This misinformation by V T Thomas and showing of only partial documents clearly shows malicious intent.

“The second accused in the case Fr Shantaraj, along with Harry Fernandes, Jenny Claus David, Sanju and Helavar have tried to defame the members of the administrative committee by falsely accusing the members in the applications given to the Deputy Registrar, Urban Development Authority and officials of the City Municipality. The Christian community leaders condemn this attitude of Fr Shantaraj and the above-mentioned members.

“Apart from this, V T Thomas has written to the Deputy Registrar of the Co-operative Societies on September 13, 2019, stating that the accused are Kannada Christians and therefore they have been falsely blamed in the matter of the land deal. This statement is in fact, far from the truth. This is a ploy designed to create a rift in the name of Kannada and Konkani and thereby mislead people from the real topic of the illegal attempt of sale of the property. His statements are therefore severely condemned by the leaders of the community, Christian society, which upholds and functions on peace, harmony and brotherhood. However, people of the community have not paid heed to his misleading words and are on the side of truth and justice and have provided their support and confidence to this good cause.

“St Joseph’s Education Society (SJES) is a registered society under the provisions of Karnataka Society’s Reg act. On the Basis of the complaint lodged by several persons against the society, the Deputy Registrar (DR) of Chikkamagaluru conducted an enquiry and has held that the allegations levelled against the president and Vice President of the society relating to the proceedings of the illegal attempt of sale of two sites belonging to the society by accepting Rs 40 lac as advance, which was later prevented by the Governing Body members. In addition, converting the property illegally into 6 residential plots which was intended for hostel purposes, all contrary to the Bylaws with allegations proved. In the DR’s enquiry report, it has been directed that legal action against the President and Vice President be taken and this action be reported back to his office.

“It is not known why the accused persons are hesitating to face the investigation, if no wrongdoing has occurred? It is well established by now that law will treat all people equally. A thorough and impartial investigation will bring out the truth.

“The community leaders of Chikkamagaluru diocese have also urged the bishop T Anthony Swamy, the first accused in this criminal case to step down from the post of President and also as the bishop of Chikkamagaluru diocese in order to uphold the high moral standard of his office and his religious duties as the Bishop, till his name is cleared honourably,” he said.






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Comment on this article

  • Santhosh D, Bangalore

    Fri, Feb 14 2020

    For this issue to be amicably resolved, the Bishop Fr. Anthony Swamy , and Fr. Shantaraj should hold a meeting with the committee of lay leaders to clear all the charges held against them and come clean. If not, they should face the law. Let truth prevail!

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    Why everything is Fake in India ...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Justin Lobo, Bangalore

    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    Church cases should be dealt inside the church with church members amicably without moving cases to courts. Later don't humiliate yourself and to the church.

    DisAgree [50] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjay, Hebri

    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    Does your logic apply to rape, murder cases also?

    DisAgree [18] Agree [35] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    Sanjay, Hebri
    We know who are the Rapists & Murderers in India ...

    DisAgree [17] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    Sanjay, Hebri, you ask - Does your logic apply to rape, murder cases also? Your own answer for your question, please? You mean to say you do not know the difference between land, a civil matter, and rape/murder? You need to be educated first, and trained too.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Justin Lobo, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    I did not write about rape. I wrote about land issue.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deshbhakht, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 12 2020

    I disagree. A Church is comprised of people who are a part of the nation, hence the law of the land should be applicable in any disputes. Especially when the disputes don't solve amicably by the church authorities and the committee members.

    Absolutely no separate rule for church authorities, whither its financial or legal. The church members (priests) may be abiding by the Vatican Law but since they deal with Christians who are citizens of India, all disagreements should be according to the legal system of India. Can an Indian Christian take his dispute to Vatican ? I'm sure he will not be entertained. As such, can they be deprived of justice ? Why ?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse


Title : Irregularities in land deals - HC quashes Chikkamagaluru bishop, priest's plea


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