The Kerela High Court rejected the petitions by the head of the Kerela-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and ordered that he should face trial in all the cases linked to the 2018 Church land scam on Thursday.
Justice P Somarajan rejected seven petitions against a lower court order which had ordered that Varghese and Alencherry should appear before a court.
An internal probe of the church in 2018 found out about the properties of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam were handed over for a very small amount with Saju Varghese as his middleman in dealings starting from 2015 which allegedly involved black money and the diocese lost around Rs 90 crore. They are facing offences under IPC Sections 120 B, 406 and 423 read with 34.
The court said the sale deeds were executed without conducting a public auction or public sale and thereby curtailed the right to derive maximum consideration for the coffers of the Church solely with the purpose of giving the property to certain people at a throwaway price.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches under Rome. The scandal had triggered a revolt among priests of the archdiocese, and to tide over the crisis, the Synod of the Catholic Church, with the consent of Rome, had removed Alencherry as the administrator of the archdiocese but allowed him to continue as the head of the entire Syro-Malabar Church.