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Kerala: After ED raids, Church of South India bishop detained at airport

A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided a number of premises of the Church of South India (CSI) in Thiruvananthapuram in reference to an alleged cash laundering case, CSI South Kerala Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam was on Tuesday detained at Thiruvananthapuram worldwide airport.

The bishop, who was scheduled to journey to the UK to attend a church occasion, was detained by emigration officers on the behest of the ED. Bishop Rasalam was requested to show up earlier than ED officers as a part of the probe.

The raids have been held as a part of an ED probe into the case that the church-run Dr Somervell Memorial CSI Medical School, Karakonam, had accepted a capitation charge for MBBS admission and that the deal concerned black cash. The premises that have been raided included the residences of Bishop Rasalam, medical faculty director Dr Bennet Abraham, who had contested in Lok Sabha elections in 2014, and CSI church secretary Praveen.

Earlier, the CSI church had confronted allegations that capitation charges collected from college students have been parked in a separate account with none receipts or payments. Admissions to the faculty had been embroiled in an argument after 11 college students have been discovered having produced faux neighborhood certificates in 2018.

Final 12 months, the state Crime Department had investigated the allegation that the faculty didn’t give admission to college students from whom capitation charges have been collected. Though the Crime Department had reported to the court docket that it couldn’t discover proof for the alleged crime, the court docket early this 12 months had rejected the probe report.

Church spokesman Fr Jayaraj advised media that the court docket had exonerated the bishop and nothing incriminating in opposition to him had emerged from the ED raid.

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