The Income Tax (IT) sleuths raided offices and institutions associated with evangelist K P Yohanan’s Believers’ Church in central Kerala and other places and seized Rs five crore currency and other valuables, a senior official who is part of the investigation said.
The officer said the raid which started on Thursday was continuing at many places and serious violations of Foreign Contributions Regulation Act and (FCRA) Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) were detected.
In 2017, the Union home ministry had barred three NGOs associated with the church from accepting funds but the latest raids show fund flow continued from foreign countries in other names. It is alleged that more than Rs 100 crore came in the last three years.
According to a report by Times Now, Believers Eastern Church received over ₹7,000 crores in the past 7 years. The Church had also used their funds in real estate dealings and construction of institutions.
While speaking on the development, an IT official informed, “The raid began Thursday and is still on in Kerala and elsewhere in the country. So far, we have recovered Rs 8 crore in cash from various premises. Our action is still going on… We, prima facie, assume that the Church had invested around Rs 1,000 crore in real estate development. The funds for charity have been used for running churches, which is a religious purpose. As the raids are still on, we cannot come to any conclusion about the magnitude of the violations.’’