Taken from Times of India
Bella Jaisinghani,TNN | Jan 31, 2014, 02.32 AM IST
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.