I-T dept. raids Believer’s Church properties

The Income Tax Department on Thursday raided offices connected to the Thiruvalla-based Believer’s Eastern Church, a religious establishment led by Metropolitan Archbishop Athanasius Yohan 1 (K.P. Yohannan). The operation began in the morning and continued till late in the evening.

Simultaneous raids were carried out at the offices and residences of several persons associated with the Church, inside and outside Kerala. Among the sites raided were the church headquarters at Thiruvalla, a medical college hospital run by the Church, and the residence of the metropolitan.

The officials seized unaccounted money worth ₹57 lakh from the boot of a car parked on the premises of the Church headquarters. Several documents pertaining to the financial transactions of the religious establishment too were seized.

The officers attributed the surprise raids to some ‘specific inputs’ on tax evasion and unauthorised foreign transactions. The details of the case would be shared at a later stage, they added.

The Church spokesperson was not available for comment despite multiple attempts. The Church had been on the radar of the government following allegations of receiving several crores of rupees in foreign funds through the NGOs run by it. As per reports , these agencies had registered a cash inflow of around ₹2,397 crore during the 2015-16 financial year, which included new foreign funds, transfer from other local sources, contributions brought forward from previous years, and their interest.

In 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs barred the church and the three NGOs associated with it from receiving foreign funds.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 2:25:52 AM |

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