Police in India have raided the home and office of two bishops who are facing fraud charges amounting to several million rupees.
According to a UCA News report, local law enforcement officers raided the office and home of Surendra Kumar Sukka, a Lutheran bishop, on Nov. 10. Prior to it, police also went to the house of P.C. Singh, the bishop of Church of North India under the Jabalpur diocese located in Madya Pradesh.
Multimillion-rupee Fraud Charges
The news outlet disclosed that Bishop Sukka of the Evangelical Lutheran Church is accused of defrauding a provident fund worth 50 million rupees or $625,000.
India's Economic Offenses Wing (EOC) reportedly sent 70 officers on Nov. 10 to conduct separate raids on six locations, including Sukka's home and office.
A raking ELC official quickly dismissed the allegation and explained that the investigation into the bishop hinged on a false complaint.
Pastor Ashok Chouksey ELC's head treasurer argued that the complainant was a disgruntled relative of a church member who did not take well Bishop Sukka's ascension as head of the ELC.
The unnamed complainant alleged that church officials did not deposit to the state the money they deducted from the employees. The complainant said that the deducted amount should have been handed over to the state authority that manages the provident fund.
Additionally, Sukka and other ELC officials allegedly defrauded the employees of at least 50 million rupees beginning in 2011.
The employees accidentally discovered the alleged crime when they went to the provident fund office to claim the benefits of a deceased co-employee. The said employee reportedly died at the height of the pandemic.
The report bared that EOC officials raided four other homes of ELC personalities in Chhindwara district, while another team proceeded to the home of an individual living in Bhopal. Pastor Chouksey revealed that the raiding teams failed to secure any document that would prove the culpability of the ELC officials in question.
2nd Bishop Under Fraud Probe
Aside from Sukka, police have also raided the residence of another Protestant bishop accused of committing big-time fraud.
On Sept. 8, federal agents stormed the home of Church of North India's Bishop P.C. Singh due to a swindling charge.
The bishop is accused of amassing 27 million rupees from several schools in Jabalpur diocese. Singh allegedly took the money intended as school fees, the report noted.
The bishop, his son and daughter, and his wife are all under police investigation. Only him and his son are currently under police custody.
The news outlet noted that Christian religious leaders in Madya Pradesh are pointing fingers towards Hindu groups as the people behind the alleged religious harassment targeting Christians.
India's ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is known to be warming up to the idea of turning the country into a Hindu hegemony.
The news outlet said that Christians make up barely 1% of the total population, making them part of the religious minority in India.