Thane police to question Cardinal, other priests over sale of church land

Taken from Times of India

,TNN | Jan 31, 2014, 02.32 AM IST

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MUMBAI: The Vartak Nagar police have called the head of the Catholic church in Mumbai, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, to record his statement in the sale of a Thane church land. They will also question the priests who sold the plot to Hiranandani builders for Rs 20 crore.

The issue relates to Our Lady of Mercy Church, where sole trustee Fr John Rumao had allegedly sold off 21,000 sqm of the 37,000 sqm land parcel. Upset Catholic groups had demonstrated outside the Archbishop’s House in Colaba ahead of Christmas 2013. A police officer said they are duty-bound to investigate everyone who has been named in the complaint.

Joe Sodder of the Association of Concerned Catholics said it was a crime to raze churches under sections 3 and 6 of the Places of Worship Act, 1991, IPC Section 295-A, which involves disturbing communal harmony, and PIC Section 120-B, which involves endangering law and order. “Cops have recorded the statements of 10 people. They are calling those named in the complaint, including Cardinal Gracias, Bishop Agnelo Gracias, former Cardinal Ivan Dias, Fr Rumao, trust manager Deepak Dias and builder’s architect S Shinde.”

Sodder showed a notice from the TMC that sought razing the two churches, botanical garden, school and social service centre on the land before TDR can be transferred. “The office of the charity commissioner has granted an injunction restraining the sale or demolition as it was misled. It was told the land had been encroached upon; the fact that there is a church on the plot was concealed,” he said.

Fr Neil dos Santos, spokesperson for Cardinal Gracias, said, “We have not received a formal FIR or summons. The police have called the Cardinal on Monday, and I will represent him. We have not sold the property; we have sold the TDR. Also, the charity commissioner had granted permission for the deal. The TDR was taken from only that part of land which was reserved for a playground. There is no question of razing the churches, botanical garden or social service centre.”

Fr Rumao, who is retired, was unavailable for comment.

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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6 Responses to Thane police to question Cardinal, other priests over sale of church land

  1. Now the common criminals in frocks; will they be brought to justice ????—- hope !!!!!
    LET US PRAY !!!!!!!

  2. Francis Mondal says:

    No prayer will do. Just defrock them and put them behind the bars! Question the Cardinal who is an adviser to Pope without checking out what is happening in his own backyards.

    • I full agree. as far as question our Dear cardinal Oswald Gracias, he will never respond and has no time for his sheep.He is busy advising Pope Francis (hell knows what). Its time that the laity stand up and demand that he steps down.

  3. Hell on earth, so the law has finally caught up, I was sure it would, it was a matter of time.
    What is disturbing from the report is that the news print mentions that the Thane police has summoned Our dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias to record his statement as the head of the catholic church at The archdiocese, Neil dos Santos mentions in the article that he will represent Our Dear cardinal, How is this possible, Even Asaram and his son were initially reluctant to come down to the police station for the police to record there statements.Is Our Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias above the law of the land.I do recall some time back when there was a hearing in the Court and the advocate for The Archdiocese mentioned to the judge that the cardinal was ill, when in fact The Examiner showed he was away for a meeting some where in India.
    I will be writing a separate letter both to The commissioner of Police Thane Range and The Chief Minister Govt Of Maharashtra as well as law and judiciary Govt of Maharashtra asking if any dispensation has been granted for Our Dear cardinal not to be present at The time the police wish to record his statements.
    No one is above the law and that the way it must be.
    I am confident the local police and the Govt will do what is legally bound of them without fear and or favour.

  4. 125 years ago in 1886 through a concordat signed by The Holy See and Portugal, through Pope Leo XIII’s Bull Humanae Salutis, Bombay received its own Archbishop and became a Archdiocese.
    Correct me if I am wrong, this will be the first time ever in the last 125 years that the law of the land has summoned the Local Cardinal to record his statement in a “questionable” church land sale/deed.
    This must go down as a record in the history of the catholic Church at Bombay (Mumbai) India.
    I hope the Apostolic Nuncio and The Holy see will also note this record achieved after 125 years.
    All credit to the AB House administration without doubt.

  5. Dindi Aneco says:

    Take help from the Aam Aadmi Party.

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