Court wants answer on Kerala 'lies'

State told to scrap new probe into Catholic retreat center reporter, Kochi
March 16, 2011
India’s Supreme Court has slammed the Kerala state government for re-ordering a probe into a Catholic charismatic retreat center. Three years ago, the Supreme Court threw out a slew of allegations, including rape and murder, against people working at the Divine Retreat Centre in Muringoor. The Kerala-based Vincentian Congregation manages the Catholic spirituality center. The court also ordered the disbandment of a special team established by the Kerala High Court to probe the allegations against what is believed to be the largest Catholic retreat center in Asia. Father George Panackal, who directs the center, appealed to the Supreme Court after the Kerala High Court ordered the new investigation. The lower court acted on a petition brought by Kalarcod Venugopalan Nair. The court then sought the opinion of the state government and Kerala’s director general of police, Govindan Nair, told the court there were still cases pending against the Catholic center when, in fact, there were none. The Supreme Court yesterday demanded an explanation from the Kerala government’s lawyer outlining why Govindan Nair gave a false and misleading statement to the High Court, calling his actions “a serious matter.” It also directed Kalarcod Venugopalan Nair, the petitioner, to back off or face punishment for wasting the court’s time. State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said he has told his department to rectify matters. The minister also directed his department to investigate why Govindan Nair gave a false statement in court. Govindan Nair died in June 2010. Father Panackal said some groups still want to tarnish the center’s image despite the Supreme Court ruling. Related report Police Team Closes Probe Into Asia´s Largest Catholic Retreat Center IB13660.1645
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