Man in Kerala forges documents against Church head, held

Kochi: Adithya Valavi, a 24-year-old man, who is a post-graduate from an IIT, was arrested for allegedly forging documents against Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal George Alencherry.

Three bishops of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese have come out openly against the arrest of the techie. They claim that Valavi is not a criminal and that he had no role in forging documents.

Valavi was a faithful, and while interning with a reputed business group in Kochi, he had taken a screenshot of documents allegedly having Alencherry’s name from the computer server of the firm and brought it to the notice of a church priest he knew.

Following this, the priest allegedly shared the image with another priest, who in turn submitted it to a Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church.

The priests further alleged that the man was taken into custody by police last week and was tortured and forced to make statements against other priests in connection with the case.

The priests, including auxiliary bishops of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, have demanded a high-level probe into the forgery case.

On the other hand, the police have said the documents purportedly linked the Syro-Malabar church head with the accounts of a private bank, and it was found to be forged during their investigation.

According to them, the cardinal was found not operating any account in the bank named in the documents. Alleging that Adithya was subjected to torture in custody, the priests, including Bishop Jacob Manathodath, who was appointed as the administrator of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese by Pope Francis last year, have urged the government to order either a CBI or a judicial probe into the case.

Meanwhile, Adithya’s father Zachariah alleged that his son was physically and mentally tortured by the police in custody. Adithya was also forced to make a statement against Father Tony Kallookaran, vicar of Muringoor Sanjoe Nagar church, he further alleged.

Meanwhile, the police made Father Kallookaran also an accused in the case on Tuesday. Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath and Bishop Jose Puthenveettil had also joined Manathodath at a press conference held on Monday evening to raise the demand. Refuting the allegations of torture in custody, the police said they were carrying out a “scientific probe” into the case. The issue of controversial land deals involving top priests of the Syro-Malabar Church has been in the news for quite some time.

NT Bureau