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08/02/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – Last week, Indian authorities barred a protestant bishop from foreign travel on accusations of money laundering. The clergyman, Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam, serves the Church of South India and was scheduled for a flight to the United Kingdom out of an international airport in Kerala. At the airport, though, police detained him and accused him of attempting to flee the country. Because of this accusation, the bishop was also required to appear in front of the Enforcement Directorate for investigation. The Enforcement Directorate has also undertaken a number of raids on the offices and residences of church officials, including the bishop, who is implicated in the money laundering allegations.

The allegations specifically assert that the bishop and others accepted large sums of money in exchange for guaranteed admission into Dr. Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College, Karakonam, which is run by the church. Despite these allegations, church leaders observing the situation have universally maintained the innocence of Bishop Rasalam and all other church officials. Reportedly, state officials admit that many applicants were not actually admitted to the college even after supposedly paying these bribes. One clergyman emphatically stated, “These are allegations, and there is no truth to them.” The director of the Education board of the local diocese confidently posited that the forthcoming accusations against church officials are rooted in false allegations.

This is not the first time that church leaders and the medical college have come under undue scrutiny from the police. Earlier, the police conducted a similar investigation into the college and found no evidence of criminal or unethical activity. Another church leader, in response to the reinvestigation of the medical college and associated church officials, said, “Vested interests created such stories to tarnish the image of the medical college, and the truth will come out. We are not worried about the [Enforcement Directorate] or any other probe as we have nothing to hide.” If the accused officials in the Church of South India are innocent, as many argue, we pray that time will serve to vindicate them.

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