Some time ago various guidelines were issued regarding how properties owned by the Archdiocese of Mumbai are to be dealt with.
Once again it appears that the said guidelines have only been issued to throw mud in peoples eyes.
Time and again properties are being sold/leased without the same being published in any official newspaper or website of the Archdiocese.
The latest , once again being the Examiner Press Building in Dalal Street.
Some time again an application was put to the Charity Commissioner to alienate the said property.It appears that one Bruno D’Souza filed a caveat in the office of the Charity Commissioner and then the said proposal was put on the back burner.
Time and again Catholic Properties donated by Catholics are being sold at below market rates and that too without sanction.
Our Lady of Egypt Church Kalina, through its then trustee made an application to sell a plot of land in Vakola admeasuring about 700 meters opposite St.Anthonys Church Vakola stating that the plot was fully encumbered when in fact it was’nt.The Charity Commissioner granted sanction in 1996 stating that the said property be sold for Rs.3,51,000/- and that the money be deposited within a year and that the sanction was valid only for one year .
The balance money was paid to the said Church in 2005 and conveyance was signed in the year 2005 on the basis of a Power of Attorney of Fr.John Rumao knowing fully well that on that date he was no longer trustee of the said Our Lady of Egypt Church Kalina and the said deal had no valid sanction.Despite a number of complaints made to the Church authorities nothing has happened.In fact one of the persons complained too gave the buyers a clean chit.He has now become Bishop and his said letter was used in Court as an Exhibit for the anticipatory bail applications.Based on the 2005 value of the said plot the stamp duty authorities have ordered stamp duty and penalty to be paid amounting to around Rs.25,00,000/- sometime in mid 2013 on the said plot.An appeal against the said order is pending in the appellate authorities office as of today.
In Marinagar FSI was sold for Rs.2000 a sq. foot when the going rates for flats was Rs.20,000/- a super built up foot.Was Charity Commissioners sanction taken?
What has happened to the flats which the Our Lady of Salvation Church had to get in Gloriossa Buidling Dadar?Yes a deal was entered to take all the flats in Ave Maria thereby giving the builder an interest free loan amounting to the cost of all the flats which they had to get in Gloriossa.Today more than/around 7 years have passed since Gloriossa has come up but the Church is yet to get the flats.Yes we have a very generous Church.Does the said act not amount to making a rich man richer?What was the security taken? What was the stand taken by the then Archbishops representative and then Parish Priest?
What has happened to the Ave Maria property? Two buildings were supposed to come up simultaneously one for free sale and one for the church.The free sale building had come up and has been sold what is the position of the building which the Church had to get? What about the hall? What about the terrace and separate entrance?
As long as the laity continues to remain silent more and more properties will be sold or third party interests will be created.We have an example in Mahim of Church owned shops given on lease for one year sometime in 1995 and possession not taken back till today and the sad part of it was that a retired Bishop came to negotiate on behalf of the lessee to regularise an illegal structure.Yes some of them have become Municipal Corporators too!!
A time will come when even distant places such as Boisar will be out of the Catholics reach if our properties are not protected and community housing is not promoted.Presently all acts point to the fact that the Church in Mumbai is not promoting community housing.
If catholics move out our churches will be mere structures and a time will come when even those structures will be sold as has happened in Bhuleshwar.