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Enforcement Directorate raids offices of the Believers Church

Author: Sonakshi Datta
Publication: Goachronicle.com
Date: July 19, 2022
URL:      https://goachronicle.com/enforcement-directorate-raids-offices-of-the-believers-church/

In a latest development, the Enforcement Directorate has been conducting raids on the offices of the Believers Eastern Church. The raids are being seen after Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, levelled the allegation of smuggling dollars outside India, using the Believers Eastern Church, against Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan.

Suresh’s alleged role in the gold smuggling racket and her connections to the former Principal Secretary, M Sivasankar, under whom she worked as a contract staffer with the Kerala State Government’s flagship Space Park Project, had become a major controversy in the state.

The Church is currently being headed by its Metropolitan, Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan I, formerly known as Dr. K.P. Yohannan Metropolitan.

The Church and the Metropolitan have been under limelight earlier as well. Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan I had successfully evaded detention under the US Racketeers Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), 1970. In 2020, the Church was first in news when the Kerala government had attempted to take over the Cheruvally Rubber Estate, which it owns and is situated in Erumeli in the Kottayam district, for a greenfield airport, benefiting Sabarimala Ayappa devotees. There is a dispute over the estate bought by the Eastern Church in 2005.

Also in 2020, the Church became the talk of the town when the IT Department had launched search operations across 66 of its offices in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Chandigarh, Punjab and Telangana.

Yohannan has been blamed to have committed various irregularities in the name of Christianity, particularly in the USA and Canada.

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