Record priest’s statement on sale of church property: High Court
Rosy Sequeira,TNN | Feb 2, 2014, 12.28 AM IST
Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing an appeal against a sessions court’s rejection of the anticipatory bail plea of applicant Elphege Pereira. Pereira, along with his brother Bonphilo and Fr John Rumao, was named in an FIR that was registered following a complaint lodged by Valerian Fernandes, a tenant of a property belonging to the Kalina church. The parish priest, Rumao is the sole trustee of the property.
According to Fernandes’ complaint, the three forged a conveyance deed to defraud the government by showing the 750sqm property as fully encumbered when there were only five tenants occupying 100sqft rooms each.
Pereira’s defence was that the documents were forged by his advocates. But stating that Pereira had signed the conveyance deed, the lower court held that he had direct connection to the forgery. Bonphilo was granted anticipatory bail because he was out of India during the registration of the deed, and Rumao also got a similar relief because he claimed he had ceased to be a trustee and did not sign the deed.
But on January 31, Fernandes’ advocate Amul Shinde argued that the police had not recorded the priest’s statement despite an earlier direction. Justice Bhatkar then directed that Rumao’s statement whether or not he had signed the conveyance deed must be recorded within two weeks.