Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bishop Fighting Tax Fraud Charges Dies: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2012,


Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India,Corruption. 
Tags: Christopher Asir, Diocese of Madurai-Ramnad
Bishop Christopher Asir
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.
A bishop fighting tax fraud charges brought by the Indian government has died.  On 3 February 2012 the former Deputy Moderator of the Church of South Indian and current Bishop in Madurai-Ramnad, the Rt. Rev. A. Christopher Asir, died at the Madurai Meenakshi Mission Hospital from cancer.  He was 64.
Elected bishop in Madurai-Ramnad in 2003, Bishop Asir was elected deputy moderator of the CSI in 2008.  In 2010 he stood for election as Moderator, but lost by 8 votes to Bishop S. Vasanthakumar.
Last month Bishop Asir was called to testify before the District Revenue Collector of Madurai to respond to charges that he had been part of a criminal ring that included a serving government minister that had defrauded his diocese of £925,000 by selling church land and pocketing the proceeds.
Bishop Christopher Asir and Mr. M.K. Alagiri – the Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers – were ordered to appear before the tax authority on 4 Jan 2012 following a year long investigation into the bishop’s stewardship of church lands.
On 28 Jan 2011 Justice V. Kuruppiah of the Madras High Court directed the police to investigate Bishop Asir, Mr. Alagiri and Pauline Sathyamurthy, the former treasurer of the CSI who is currently being sought by police in connection with the theft of tsunami relief funds for selling land given to the diocese by an American mission society for £2.2 million and then pocketing £925,000 of the proceeds.
A prima facie case of malfeasance was found to have occurred by the district officer and the case passed to his superiors for investigation.

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