The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Revolt against bishop

Calcutta, Feb. 19: Bishop of Calcutta P.S.P. Raju found himself under siege today when hundreds of members of the Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India (CNI) hit the streets, demanding his resignation over alleged financial irregularities.

Singing hymns and chanting slogans, men and women from 29 churches under the CNI poured into Chowringhee Road around 5 pm and converged on Bishop House. Inside, the 15-member executive committee of the Calcutta Diocese went into a three-hour meeting with the bishop in the chair.

It is learnt that the committee sought an explanation from the bishop on charges of irregularities levelled by church members over several months against him and a few of his family members and associates.

“Bishop, resign, resign, resign,” one of the many placards screamed.

“I welcome a threadbare discussion on any issue, or grievance or complaint that a member wants to raise,” Bishop Raju told The Telegraph.

“But he must make his point with proper documents. I have not committed any improper act ever. The CNI rules do not permit me to act independent of the committee. To be precise, all my decisions were taken and will be taken only after consulting the committee,” he said.

During the meeting, the committee examined whether:

• Bishop Raju was responsible for the decision to have a large portion of Bishop House, the official residence of the bishop of Calcutta — a grand edifice on 51 Chowringhee Road that is a designated heritage structure — demolished and a large commercial complex developed on the 70-cottah plot with the help of a hurriedly-chosen realtor

• He usurped the powers and position of principals of Anglo-Indian schools affiliated to the CNI for controlling admissions. La Martiniere, St James, Pratt Memorial and St Thomas are among schools under the CNI

• His family members amassed wealth

Bishop Raju insisted the executive committee had been kept informed of all his decisions, especially those specified. “At no point was a wrong decision taken. As far as I can see, only a handful of people with vested interests are trying to foment trouble.”

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