A Catholic priest in Kerala has sued a Muslim businessman for defamation. Father George Panackal, who directs the Divine Retreat Centre in the southern Indian state, has demanded an unconditional apology from K.A. Rauf for alleging that he accepted money to hush up a sex scandal. Rauf is a relative of P.K. Kunhalikutty, a former minister who faces several sex abuse cases. Rauf told media yesterday that Kunhalikutty had sought Father Panackal’s help to silence a person who was a regular visitor to the center. The businessman alleged that Kunhalikutty, then a prominent minister in the state cabinet, paid 100,000 (US$2,200) rupees to the priest for this. Father Panackal has denied all allegations and asked Rauf to apologize within three days. The Marxist-led state government has ordered a police investigation into Rauf’s allegations. The indigenous Vincentian Congregation manages the center, which attracts thousands of people for its weekly retreats. Related reports Police Team Closes Probe Into Asia´s Largest Catholic Retreat CenterPeople Rally Around Catholic Retreat Center As Hindu Radicals Press For Its Closure IB13317.1641
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