ED raids Believer’s Church, seizes documents

Simultaneous raids at offices, residences of those associated with the Thiruvalla-based Church

July 18, 2022 08:09 pm | Updated 08:13 pm IST - PATHANAMTHITTA

Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Monday cracked down on the Thiruvalla-based Believer’s Eastern Church, a religious establishment led by Metropolitan Archbishop Athanasius Yohan 1.

Official sources said ED officials swooped down on the multiple offices connected to the Church and its leaders. The operation began in the morning and continued till late in the evening.

According to them, simultaneous raids were carried out at the offices and residences of several persons associated with the Church, including its headquarters at Thiruvalla, a medical college hospital run by it, and the residence of the metropolitan.

During the raids, several documents relating to the financial transactions of the religious establishment too were seized. The Church spokesperson was not available for a comment despite multiple attempts.

IT raid in 2020

The Income Tax department had carried out a similar raid on the church and its associated offices in November 2020. The Church has been on the radar of the government for allegedly receiving several crores of rupees in foreign funds through the NGOs run by it. As per reports, these agencies had registered a total cash inflow of around ₹2,397 crore during the financial year 2015-16, which included fresh foreign funds, transfers from other local sources, contributions brought forward from previous years and their interest.

In 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs barred the church and three NGOs associated with it from receiving foreign funds and cancelled their registrations under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act (FCRA).

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