The Punjab Police, on Saturday, claimed to have recovered Rs 9.66 crores of hawala money that was being transported to Ambala in three cars on Friday night. Six men were arrested regarding the matter including a close aide of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has earlier been accused in Kerala nun rape case.
The six accused are Father Anthony, a priest in a church at Partappura village, Rachpal Singh, a resident of Bhikhiwind Tarn Taran, Ravinder Lingayat and Shivangi Lingayat, residents of New Mumbai, Ashok Kumar, a resident of Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh and Harpal Singh, a resident of Jalandhar.
“The money was without documents and evidence and we can say that it was unaccountable,” Khanna Senior Superintendent of Police Dhruv Dahiya told reporters. Interestingly, it is the highest amount of unaccounted cash that has been seized after the announcement of moral code of conduct.
Speaking of the incident, Dahiya stated that police teams had been searching for vehicles and persons at Doraha on Friday night, when they got a tip-off that a group running a hawala money racket is transporting a huge amount of illegal currency from Jalandhar to Ambala.
“Following this, Inspector Karnail Singh, SHO Doraha and ASI Mohinderpal Singh began searching all vehicles approaching from Jalandhar-Ludhiana side. On flagging down the cars, the occupants of the EcoSport identified themselves as Anthony and Rachpal, that of the Innova as Ravinder Lingayat, his wife Shivangi and Ashok Kumar and that of the Brezza as Harpal Singh,” the SSP said.
However, the important question that arises is whether these these bishops and missionaries are above the law? The involvement of clergymen in shady dealings at the time of elections clearly signifies that there is a ‘holy nexus’ of church and politics. These people with nefarious intentions are trying to affect the elections and Election Commission should take strict actions against them.
Earlier, Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal received a grand welcome upon his release on conditional bail. The Bishop was granted bail by Kerala court. Followers of Franco Mulakkal in Jalandhar welcomed him like a hero. His supporters garlanded him and also showered rose petals on the rape accused.
Surprisingly, Bishop Franco Mullakkal enjoys political support in Kerala and the support of the Church. Franco Mullakal used his political clout to defame the nuns. He also used the Church authorities to attempt to bribe and lure the nun and her family to withdraw their complaint against him. According to a Swarjaya report, the nun was presented with an offer for 10 acres of land and a new convent. The report further states that the Nun’s brother has alleged that his sister was offered five crores to withdraw the case. Moreover, the death of senior priest Father Kuriakose Kattuthara has added another controversial twist to the rape accused case. The senior priest had testified against Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the case filed by the nun who claimed that the Bishop had sexually assaulted her numerous times over a period of three years.
Being of a minority religion, the Christian missionaries believe they should be given a free pass as they are immersed in “Gods work” and are not directly in conflict with any other community in the country. The hawala money scandal and others points to the fact that the bishops and missionaries are getting political patronage and acting as if they are above law.