It is nearly two months since the Bangalore Mirror published conclusive proof of your corrupt actions in its May 6, 2010 article titled “Bishop Gobbles School Funds.” http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article§id=10&contentid=2010050620100506052145517d7b2841 You have not in this period made any comment or issued any statement on this stunning allegation to the 4.5 million CSI members you represent as Moderator
The print version of the Bangalore Mirror article carried the photocopy of your bank account in Vijaya Bank, Residency Road, Bangalore bearing SB A/c No 17030 and standing in the name of “Mr/Mrs Vasanthakumar S. Bishop Discretionary Fund.” The published photocopy of the above account for a period of six months between April 2006 and October 2006 showed you had illegally received a transfer of Rs 400,000 from Bishop Cotton Boys School. This money was put to illegal use including to settle your daughter’s credit card bills and to give handouts to your cronies among the clergy.
What is illegal about this account itself, as you well know, is that the official Bishop’s Discretionary Fund maintained by the Karnataka Central Diocese, is with Bank of Saurashtra and bears A/c No 56133003164. This account is subject to audit, meaning you will have to provide bills to justify the expenditure incurred from it. Since you coveted the funds of the very church you were a guardian of, you found a way to bypass the official account by opening a separate bank account in Vijaya Bank . In doing so you have disobeyed the word of God. For as Luke 12:15 states: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.”
The series of illegalities committed by you in surreptitiously opening a private account in your official capacity, giving it the impression of being an official account by tagging to it the title “Bishop Discretionary Fund” and then directing schools of which you are the chairman (by virtue of being the Bishop) to transfer funds to it shows the extent of your crooked and depraved mind. This is a clear case of cheating the church and its institutions. What your illegal actions have meant is that lakhs, and possibly crores of rupees, that could have been used to promote the causes of the church, particularly of the poor and the needy, have been illegally siphoned off and used by you and your family members for your own selfish purposes.
The Bishop Boycott Campaign has documentary evidence that you have been operating the illegal Vijaya Bank account since 2002. We have in our possession the photocopy of a letter dated 30th May 2002 written by you on your official Karnataka Central Diocese letterhead to Dr Stella Samuel, the then principal of Bishop Cotton Girls School which reads as under:
Sub: Bishop’s Discretionary Fund
I am grateful to the Board of Management of the Bishop Cotton Girls’ School for having allocated Rs 2 lakhs as ‘Bishop’s Discretionary Fund’ out of which you have already paid a sum of Rs 1 lakh to CSI Hospital, Bangalore.
As I have to go to the UK on an official trip and again I am likely to go to Bangkok and Indonesia shortly, I may have to entertain some special guests abroad and incur some official expenses on behalf of the Diocese. Hence may I request you to kindly transfer a sum of Rs 1 lakh to the following account
Rt. Rev S. Vasanthakumar
Residency Road Branch
The amount shall be used solely for the official purpose.
What is striking about the above letter is the depth of the deception you have resorted to to get the school to release the money. First, you give the impression that the above account in Vijaya Bank is the official Bishop Discretionary Fund account when it is not, as pointed out earlier. Second, you declare you will use the amount “solely for the official purpose”, knowing fully well that this will not be the case as the account into which you are requesting the transfer itself is an unofficial account. Third, had the expenses you were expecting to incur been incurred in the performance of your official duties there was no reason these could not have been met from your official discretionary account in Bank of Saurashtra. Clearly the excuse of “entertainment of special guests” you requested the money for was either a downright lie to pocket this money for yourself or to resort to “entertainment” of a kind involving “special guests” that could not be officially accounted for.
Through the many acts of deception and corruption engaged in by you, you have lost all moral authority to continue as both bishop of the Karnataka Central Diocese and as Moderator of the CSI. You have violated the teachings of the Bible, which as Bishop and now Moderator you are duty bound to uphold. Indeed if anything your actions show your contempt for the word of God. Paul in his First Epistle to Timothy (6:8-11) had given this direction to spiritual leaders: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and harmful desires. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. But you man of God, flee these things.” Far from fleeing from the desires of illegal wealth, as directed by the Bible, you have both embraced and hungered for it!
CSI Constitutional Violations Committed by You
Dear Bishop Vasanthakumar, as per the CSI Constitution, “the bishop of the diocese shall have a general oversight of the financial administration of the diocese but shall not exercise any direct control over finances.” Your writing directly to schools (as shown above) seeking funds for yourself is a blatant violation of this constitutional safeguard. This alone is ground enough for your removal. Further under the Constitution and Byelaws of the Karnataka Central Diocese framed under your guidance in 2005, you have conferred on yourself the Chairmanship of the Finance and Property Standing Committees of the Diocese. This is again not in keeping with the letter and spirit of the CSI constitutional provision referred to above. It is significant you have not thought it fit to chair some other standing committees like child care committee, nurture and witness committee, social and economic concerns committee or the medical committee of the Diocese. This clearly shows you are interested in chairing only those committees where there is money to be made for yourself or where punishment transfers can be meted out to those pastors who disagree with you as evident in your chairmanship of the Stationing Committee. --Bishop Boycott Campaign
Your illegal account in Vijaya Bank led to a police complaint being lodged against you, your wife Nirmala, your daughter Aparna and your personal secretary Patricia Job -- all beneficiaries of money from this account -- by one Mr Sounder Raj of Kolar Gold Fields. When you used your money power to try and bury the police investigation, the judiciary stepped in following an appeal from the complainant. It directed the police to investigate the complaint against you. News of the court action brought great shame and disrepute to the CSI as it made headlines not only in Bangalore as in “City Court Directs Probe Against Bishop” http://www.deccanherald.com/content/67425/city-court-directs-probe-against.html but nationally too as in this Press Trust of India article “CSI Bishop, Family Booked for Cheating, Forgery” which was widely carried across the country by various websites and newspapers http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=179109 . Your corruption made international news too as in this Church of England Newspaper article “Corruption Charges Brought Against the Moderator of the CSI” http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/corruption-charges-brought-against-the-moderator-of-the-csi-the-church-of-england-newspaper-may-14-2010-p-7/
While your personal corruption is a blot on the entire church of which you are the head, what is worse is that it has encouraged your minions to loot the church and its institutions without fear of any punishment. Exposé 2 published by the Bishop Boycott Campaign earlier has revealed how your trusted aides are making lakhs if not crores of rupees selling school admission seats. Further, efforts are on to strip churches of their sources of income and move the money to the Karnataka Central Diocese where you and your aides can misuse it. One recent example of this is how St. Marks Cathedral in Bangalore has been directed to give all its rental income, amounting to more than Rs 4 lakhs a month, to the Karnataka Central Diocese, with the KCD then deciding what it would give the church. Earlier the Cathedral and the Diocese used to share this income in a ratio of 80:20. By stripping the Cathedral of this important source of income, you have seriously hampered the outreach work of this wonderful 202-year-old institution.
The Bishop Boycott Campaign has no doubt what your gameplan is. The very fact you have chosen to remain silent in the wake of clinching evidence presented in the press about your corruption shows you have no defence to offer. But you are calculating that if you lie low, you will be able to ride out the less than two years that is left of your term as both Moderator and Bishop. Being the seasoned crook that you are, law courts and legal challenges are no problem for you. You know very well that the speed with which the legal system works hardly any case is going to be decided in the two years left of your tenure. Further you can liberally dip into Diocese funds to hire top legal eagles like Nalini Chidambaram to bail you out of any tight spot. This you have done recently in both the Bishop Cotton School matter as well as in the challenge mounted against your illegal election as Moderator.
The only people who can punish you for your crimes against the Church and its institutions of which you are the head, is the membership of the church itself. Which is why the Bishop Boycott Campaign is calling on senior church leaders, from both the clergy and the laity, to take the lead in jointly acting against you. Even if 10 senior and respected churchmen and women, cutting across linguistic divides in the CSI, were to come out openly against you, they could serve as the rallying point for the rest of the membership to press for your removal.
The Bishop Boycott Campaign has recently polled its supporters for their opinion in seeking your removal through a CSI Synod process and the verdict (to be published as Bishop Boycott Campaign Feedback 4 shortly) is virtually unanimous – you have to be removed. If all this makes you want to accuse the Bishop Boycott Campaign of instigating your overthrow, feel free to do so. We want you out of the CSI, so that the message will go out loud and clear to your supporters who are thriving on looting the church and its institutions that they better mend their ways or face the same fate. You are today the leading symbol of corruption in the church. And the only workable solution that is fit in the circumstances is to have the symbol removed at the earliest. The Bible itself endorses such decisive action. As Mathew 5:13 says: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” Above all, there is the example of Jesus himself who did not stop to reason with those who had defiled the temple, but physically drove them out for having turned it into a den of thieves.
The Bishop Boycott Campaign
P.S. Please note neither the Bishop Boycott Campaign nor its supporters will refer to you henceforth by your honorific “Most Rev” We don’t think you are fit to even be addressed as “Rev” much less as “Most Rev.” You are an utter disgrace to the church and all that it stands for.
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