Protestant Bishop P. C. Singh of Jabalpur has been detained by officials from the economic offenses wing after a trip abroad
Indian police display bundles of Indian currency they claimed to have seized from the house of Church of North India Bishop P. C. Singh of Jabalpur diocese in Madhya Pradesh on Sept. 8. (Photo: supplied)
An Indian protestant bishop facing charges of misappropriation of funds, forgery and cheating has been arrested and remanded in the custody of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) for further investigations.
Bishop P. C. Singh, the moderator of the Church of North India (CNI), was arrested when he landed at the Nagpur Airport in central India, reportedly from a trip to Germany, on Sept. 12.
He was shifted to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh state and has been remanded to four days of police custody to enable further investigations.
Officials from the EOW, a special wing of the police dealing with economic offenses, said the arrest of the prelate followed a raid on his office and residence in Jabalpur on Sept. 8.
The EOW claims to have seized cash worth 16 million rupees (US$18,352) and £118 during the raid.
Officials also seized documents related to 17 properties, 48 bank accounts of the diocese, bishop Singh and his close family members, gold and registration details of eight vehicles.
Bishop Singh heads the Jabalpur diocese and also serves as the moderator of 27 dioceses under the CNI.
A day after the raid, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed the EOW to investigate if the funds were being misused for religious conversions or other illegal activities.
Vishnu Datt Sharma, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh, said: “A probe needs to be conducted into the use of lands leased out to Christian missionaries since the colonial times to know if they are being utilized for the original purposes or for commercial and illegal activities,” he added.
A CNI official, when contacted by UCA News, confirmed the seized documents were related to bank accounts and properties held by the diocese.
The official, however, was at a loss for words when asked how such a large sum of cash in Indian and foreign currency was found at the residence of the bishop.
“It is quite normal for bishops to get gold ornaments as gifts from the faithful,” he said on the condition of anonymity. “I hope the bishop will be able to explain the sources of the money and other valuables found in his possession.”
The CNI owns extensive land and properties across India inherited from the Anglican Church of the British era. The CNI was formed in 1970, uniting all the Protestant churches in northern India.
After unification, the properties independently owned by the churches came under the administration of the CNI, which is now part of the worldwide Anglican Communion and a member of the World Methodist Council.
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