A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided several premises of the Church of South India (CSI) in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram in connection with an alleged money laundering case, the church's Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam, on Tuesday, 26 July, was detained at the city's airport, from where he was scheduled to fly to the United Kingdom (UK).
The bishop was detained by emigration officials after they were directed to do so by the ED, The Indian Express reported.
Subsequently, he was directed to appear before the central agency to participate in the investigation.
The ED had launched raids amid allegations that the church-run Dr Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College, Karakonam, received a capitation fee for MBBS admission and that the case involved black money.
Several premises, including residences of Bishop Rasalam, college director Bennet Abraham, and church secretary Praveen, were searched in the case.
The Charges Against CSI
The CSI church faced charges of keeping capitation fee collected from students in a separate account without maintaining receipts or bills.
The college was at the centre of a controversy in 2018 after 11 students were found to have produced fake community certificates.
In 2021, the Kerala Police initiated an investigation into the charge that the college did not provide admission to students from whom they had collected capitation fees.
Even though the Crime Branch informed the court that no evidence of the alleged crime was found, the court rejected their report in the matter earlier this year.
However, church spokesperson Father Jayaraj said, while speaking to the press, that the court had cleared the bishop of charges since nothing incriminating was found against him in the ED raids.
(With inputs from the The Indian Express.)