Friday, July 8, 2011


CHRIST Centered Campaign (CCC) Newsletter No 29, July 7, 2011

In This Issue

* CSI Synod Office Bearers in Legal Soup

* 4B Healthcare Out of Nandyal Hospital Deal?

* Synod Court Begins Trial of Coimbatore Bishop

* Bishop Kuruvilla Made to Eat Humble Pie.                                                                                                                  CSI Synod Office Bearers in Legal Soup
Like the proverbial Damocles Sword, it hung over the head of CSI Moderator S. Vasanthakumar and his fellow office bearers of the Synod for over 18 months. But any hope they harboured of escaping its punishing swish before their term ends in another six months was dashed on 28th June 2011. On this day a Chennai court upheld a plea by one Albert Jeyaraj, a CSI Synod Council member from Madras Diocese, that the election by which the Moderator and his team came to occupy the top posts in the CSI more than a year earlier be declared illegal. The court further ruled that “all proceedings including the resolutions and decisions” made by the new office bearers “from 17/1/2010 (the date they took office) till date be and hereby stayed by way of ad-interim injunction.” {Annexure 1.1 to 1.3 attached to this newsletter contains the Chennai Court order).

The ruling has huge negative implications for the CSI and puts into jeopardy several major policy and administrative decisions including the recent appointment of some bishops. The day the verdict was announced the Moderator put in a hurried late evening appearance at the Karnataka Central Diocese office in Bangalore, where he is also the bishop, for some urgent legal consultations. This as he was set to leave for the US only hours later. But rather than cancel his overseas junket at a critical time like this Vasanthakumar chose to continue with it thus exposing once again the callous and “I am in this church for myself” attitude with which he has been functioning as head of the CSI.

The CSI Synod filed an appeal seeking vacation of the ad-interim injunction and the same came up for hearing on 6th July 2011. The CSI lawyers made vociferous pleas and even the former Moderator J.W. Gladstone -- who had conducted the elections (and very poorly at that) -- came from Kerala to put in a court appearance. However the court did not vacate the earlier stay and instead posted the matter to 15th July for the petitioner to file his counter. Analysts say that with the CSI Synod likely to deploy heavy artillery in the form of highly expensive senior counsels to argue this very important matter, the outcome will depend a lot on whether the petitioner Mr Jeyaraj can deploy a senior counsel to argue his case. Interestingly Jeyaraj had got a similar injunction against the Moderator and his team within days of their assuming office only to see that being vacated in the wake of the Moderator throwing church funds to protect his chair.

The CSITA Beneficiaries Association in Chennai ( is calling on well wishers in the CSI to help Mr Jeyaraj get the top legal eagle he needs to defend his hard-fought victory against widespread use of fraud and manipulation in CSI polls. See earlier article in Asian Tribune for the background to this case

4B Healthcare Out of Nandyal Hospital Deal?

As regular readers of this newsletter know, the CCC first exposed the illegal deal struck by the Bishop of Nandyal P.J. Lawrence regarding the St. Werburgh’s Mission Hospital in Nandyal. He had handed over this hospital and the valuable 15 acre property it sits on (worth an estimated Rs 60 crore) to 4B Healthcare, a one-year-old private for-profit company, for 30 years and for a pittance of Rs 25,000 per year. The agreement itself was so poorly worded that CSI would have had to pay 4B for all the physical improvements and additions it carries out were it to seek the property back after 30 years. This would virtually render the property irrecoverable for the CSI.

The series of articles the CCC carried on this issue over the past few months seems to have finally moved things in the right direction. First it was CSI General Secretary M.M. Philip who wrote to Bishop Lawrence, not once but twice, stating he had to cancel the illegal deal that did not have CSITA clearance. Now it looks like 4B itself has thrown in the towel. In a “Notice of Termination of Employment” sent to its St. Werburgh’s hospital staff on 30th June 2011 (see Annexure 2 attached here) , the company says that “as a result of differences between 4B Healthcare and CSI Synod, the company is forced to suspend its operations at St.Werbugh’s Hospital till a negotiated agreement is reached.”

Although there is reference made to the possibility of there still being a negotiated agreement, 4B does not seem to harbour much hope of this happening. One clue is found in its statement that former employees of the hospital will be eligible for reinstatement “with the hospital under the management of the CSI church.”

If indeed this is the final chapter of this sorry saga, we hope Bishop Lawrence will now take the initiative to invite some reputed mission hospital revival specialists like the Christian Medical College, Vellore, or the Emmanuel Hospital Association to do the needful.

Synod Court Begins Trial of Coimbatore Bishop

On June 29th, 2011, the erstwhile Bishop Manickam Dorai of Coimbatore Diocese appeared before the Synod Court in Chennai to answer grave charges of fraud and misappropriation. The Synod Court hearing the matter is headed by CSI Deputy Moderator G. Devakadasham. The chargesheet is a poorly drafted one which begins with the words “The Bishop Council with deep anguish resolved to put you on trail (sic) on the following charges”

The 16-page chargesheet (a copy of which is with the CCC) inter alia lists the following instances of fraud and misappropriation by the Bishop:

1) Facilitating illegal transfer of funds from the Teachers Training Institute, Erode, by cash and DD to his brother Mr Moorthy and the Higher Education Convenor amounting to Rs 51.9 lakhs
2) Facilitating illegal transfer of funds from CSI Erode Christian College of Arts & Science, Erode, by cash/DD to Mr Moorthy and the Higher Education Convenor amounting to Rs 62 lakhs.
3) The bishop, his wife, daughter, son and grandson illegally receiving gold coins, tea sets, cash and other gifts amounting to Rs 2.21 lakhs.
4) The bishop and his two brothers receiving Rs 5.41 lakhs as bribes for teacher appointments
5) Misappropriating Rs 26.71 lakhs from the CSI Polytechnic Salem through falsifying accounts.
6) Taking Rs 5.51 lakhs from the Diocesan treasury for making private trips abroad
7) Misappropriating Rs 2.5 crore of a Rs 4.3 crore loan given by Andhra Bank to the CSI- run Ketti Engineering College.
8) Misappropriating Rs 2.5 crore collected as building fund from students of Ketti Engineering College.

In all, the chargesheet puts the amount misappropriated by the bishop and his cronies at nearly Rs 7 crore. It also lists the numerous police and court cases filed against the bishop which it says has spoilt the name of the diocese and of the CSI. There is mention of the huge liabilities that have been imposed on the CSI by the bishop’s fraudulent actions including a suit for recovery of Rs 1.7 crore filed by a private money lender for money borrowed by the Bishop’s brother for his personal use misusing church documents.

While it will be a good development if the Synod Court convicts Dorai for his numerous crimes, the CCC is not holding its breath on such a development. This because some of those trying Dorai are themselves not clean and the possibility of private deals being struck cannot be ruled out. Dorai in fact recently withdrew a case he had filed in the Madras High Court against the Synod seeking his restoration as bishop and annulment of the Synod’s decision to appoint a Moderator’s Commissary to run the diocese. What may be more interesting is to see how the CB-CID’s detailed charges against Dorai holds up in the Coimbatore court where the trial got underway on 30th June 2011. Dorai did not attend that first day hearing saying he was down with diarrhoea and has now to compulsorily put in an appearance at the next hearing on July 11th. If he fails to show up there is every chance his bail could be cancelled and he end up in jail.

With the courts across the country taking a much harsher line on corruption (witness the who’s who of Indian politics and business cooling their heels in Tihar and other jails), the corrupt bishops of the CSI would do well to read the writing on the wall and mend their ways. No longer would it pay for them to waste church money on expensive lawyers to get them out of legal trouble stemming from their corrupt and autocratic ways.

Bishop Kuruvilla Made to Eat Humble Pie

For months now, Bishop K.P. Kuruvilla of North Kerala Diocese had been running a dirty tricks campaign to stall the democratic processes in the diocese and rule by autocratic fiat. But with his bank accounts frozen by litigation and assailed by problems from every direction, the dictator was finally forced, albeit very reluctantly, to return to the democratic path. When elections to the executive committee of the diocese took place late last month, the Bishop’s detractors won as many as 41 of the 45 seats. Bishop Kuruvilla and his henchmen must now realize their dictatorial days are over. The CCC congratulates our friends in the CSI North Kerala Laity Fellowship and in particular its secretary TJ John for bringing the errant bishop to book. We hope this sweeping victory will inspire similar revolutions in other dioceses where bishops continue to rule as medieval kings. For more details on what the recent victory means in North Kerala do read this well written and thoughtful piece.         

Enroll as a CCC Supporter

The CHRIST Centered Campaign has the objective of reforming the CSI church to make it what the Lord would want it to be -- Clean, Holy, Reconciled, Informed, Steadfast in its mission and Transparent or CHRIST for short. If you share these goals and are a member of the CSI then you can enroll as a supporter of the CHRIST Centred Campaign (CCC). Kindly send an email to with a one line statement “Yes, I share the objective of the CCC and would like to enroll as a supporter. I am a member of the CSI.” Please provide your name and the name of your church and city where you are a member. If you have already enrolled and sent us an email to this effect, thank you for doing so and we will revert to you on how you could get more involved. Meanwhile please forward this mail to any other CSI member you know who may be interested to enroll as a supporter.

About the CCC

The CHRIST Centered Campaign (CCC) to Save the CSI seeks to be an independent voice for reform within the CSI. Its goals are drawn from the very name of our Lord and Saviour as enunciated below.

C = A clean church free of corruption
H = A holy church
R = A church that promotes reconciliation both within and outside.
I = An informed church responsive to the challenges of a changing world
S = A church that remains steadfast in its mission
T = A transparent and accountable church which becomes a model to the rest of society.

The CCC welcomes all those independent-minded CSI members who share the above ideals to become active participants in this journey of change. Write in to and tell us how you would like to participate and/or your thoughts on how to take this campaign forward.


csipass puthiyara said...


Anonymous said...

plese publish all issues.