Suspects, belonging to Catholic society, circulated emails to defame colleague

A cyber crime team of Central Crime Branch (CCB) on Thursday arrested two priests attached to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (SAC) on charges of circulating libellous emails against another priest.

According to sources with the CCB, the suspects were irked over the complainant contesting an election for the provincial of SAC in India.

One of the suspects has also been placed under suspension by the society on charges of paedophilia.

The suspects Rev. Francis Sahayarajan (44) and Rev. Amalraj (44) were working as teachers at a seminary of SAC, which is better known as Pallottines, in Bangalore. A few months ago, they had created an email ID and started sending libellous emails to various seminaries of the society in the country and its headquarters in Rome.

“The emails started circulating from June after the complainant Rev. Immanuel from Pallavaram was nominated to contest for the top post of the society in India. Their contents stated Immanuel had swindled church money and favoured persons of a particular section leading to communal tension among students of seminaries and its affiliated institutions,” said an investigating officer.

Immanuel lodged a complaint with the office of the Commissioner of Police recently, following which additional commissioner (CCB) R.S. Nallasivam ordered the cyber crime wing to carry out a probe.

A team led by assistant commissioner A. John Rose investigated and found the emails had originated from the Pallottines seminary and an arts college run by the society in Bangalore.

Further investigations revealed the duo had sent the emails and written anonymous letters to various SAC institutions across the country in order to defame Immanuel and affect his chances of being elected as the provincial. Immanuel lost the post to a Goan priest.

On Thursday morning, the team apprehended Francis Sahayarajan and Amalraj in Bangalore and they were remanded to custody. Investigators also established that Amalraj was accused of sexually abusing 18 boys during his tenure as a teacher at a seminary in Madurai in 2011.

Following an internal enquiry and orders from Rome, Amalraj was placed under suspension and dismissed recently by the Pallottines, the sources said.

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