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Bishop denies using foreign funds

Accuses media of making defamatory reports on the behest of those with vested interests

Leo Fernando, Chennai

Leo Fernando, Chennai

Published: January 18, 2012 05:00 PM GMT

Updated: January 19, 2012 08:38 AM GMT

Bishop denies using foreign funds

A bishop in Tamil Nadu has denied allegations he used funds from overseas to support an ongoing protest against a controversial nuclear power plant. “The diocese did not receive any money for the support of the anti-nuclear struggle nor did the diocese divert any money received from abroad for the protest,” Bishop Yvon Ambroise of Tuticorin said in a statement yesterday. Bishop Ambroise described the dispute as a “people’s struggle” and said people are meeting all expenses themselves. The denial came following media accusations of impropriety after federal officials from the ministry of home affairs began scrutinizing diocesan records last week. Bishop Ambroise said the ministry probe is in response to answers the diocese gave to a list of 32 questions the ministry sent in November regarding funds the Church had received during the past few years. He accused some sections of the media of spreading “false allegations and rumors” that the diocese was financially supporting villagers opposing a nuclear plant in Koodankulam in Tirunnelveli district. He threatened to take legal action against the media for defaming the diocese at, what he says is, the behest of others who have vested interests. The US$3 billion Russian-designed nuclear plant is designed to produce 2000 MW of electricity and was scheduled to be commissioned in December. However, protests by local villagers since October have stalled the plan. The protesters, mainly Catholic fishermen, fear the plant could endanger their lives and livelihoods. Related reports: Fishermen call off anti-nuclear fastProtesters take aim at nuclear plant  

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