AUGUST 15, 2015
Fr. Gali Arulraj has mistress, kids, embezzles a Million Pounds from British charity – but not defrocked
My insertions/comments are in green font. I have tried to present this report chronologically –Michael
Gali Arulraj – the scamming, thieving Catholic priest with a ‘wife’ and kids / His Bishop Moses Doraboina Prakasam of Nellore diocese who has not defrocked him after eight years
It must be hard not to look smug when you have scammed a million pounds –http://gali-arulraj.blogspot.co.uk/
Since Fr. Gali Arulraj has only been suspended, finally (!) and not dismissed from the priesthood or laicized by obtaining a dispensation, he couldn’t have married in the Church and therefore the woman who fathered his children and whom he lives with in a luxurious palatial mansion is not his ‘wife’ but is his mistress.
The “priest” has not yet been brought to justice by either the civil authorities or the Church.
I can find no evidence of any story on his criminal and anticlerical activities in the Catholic/Church media.
UK organisation accuses NGO of misusing Rs. 6 crore
Money was sent to run homes for the benefit of disabled children
Special Correspondent, The Hindu, July 8, 2006
Ongole: Enable, a UK-based social organisation working in India, has alleged that an NGO has misappropriated the aid of Rs. 6 crores given to it in the last five years to run homes for the benefit of disabled children at Ongole.
Speaking to newspersons here on Friday, Enable general secretary Colin Harte wanted the Registrar of Societies to cancel the registration of the NGO, seize its records, take over the buildings, vehicles etc., and revive the activities of the two homes at Ongole for the benefit of 230 children.
He also sought an independent audit of the accounts of the society to ascertain the extent of misappropriation of funds. Expressing concern over the large-scale misappropriation of funds, he wanted action against the society to instill confidence among foreign organisations providing funds for several NGOs in India.
Started in 1995
Alison Davis* floated Enable in England in 1995 to mobilise donations to take up social activities in India through the NGO and provided 7,30,000 British pounds (equivalent to Rs. 6 crores in Indian currency) till now.
A priest launched the NGO to help rehabilitate disabled children at Kanigiri and later shifted his activities to Ongole. The society has received substantial aid from Enable in the last two years to provide shelter, food and education to some 230 disabled children through its two homes at Ongole.
*TESTIMONY OF A FORMER ATHEIST-15
Mr. Harte said that they were releasing funds for construction of buildings, vehicles on the basis of receipt of accounts and requests from the NGO. But they came to know that the auditor was providing falsified accounts. So he came here in January to verify the accounts but to his chagrin the NGO refused him access to accounts. A cursory look at the accounts showed him variations with the accounts provided to Enable before. He alleged that the accounts were falsified and tampered.
TAKING STOCK: Enable general secretary Colin Harte addressing a press conference in Ongole on Friday.
As Enable had provided 99 per cent of the funds to the NGO in the last two years, he filed a complaint with the police to verify the records. He came to know that it had used the funds for constructing palatial buildings at Ongole and Bangalore without its knowledge or permission and used them for purposes other than relating to disabled children.
He expressed concern that following the controversy the NGO had closed the homes and abandoned the disabled children. He wanted the Collector to see that the homes were revived immediately.
Saying that he had been receiving intimidating calls and mail, Mr. Harte said that he would not be cowed down by such threats and Enable would pursue the matter to its logical end.
Javier Lopez Torres, Madrid
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 4:27 AM
Subject: Priests ‘stole thousands’ from charity
Priests ‘stole thousands’ from charity
By Freddy Gray, The Catholic Herald, January 5, 2007
A Catholic-run charity for disabled children in India is in crisis after two priests allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from it. Fr. Gali Arulraj, who was director of the British aid agency Enable in India, is in hiding with his nephew – another priest, Fr. Vatakili Paulinraj – following reports that both men had been stealing cash to buy houses for Fr Arulraj’s mistresses and children.
Enable’s trustees – all Catholics – are now desperately assuring donors that any money they give will be spent helping the handicapped children who, in the words of the local Catholic bishop, have been “abandoned” by the two rogue priests.
The charity’s trustees fear the priests could take yet more funds through the illegal sale of Enable’s valuable assets.
Indian police are currently investigating the two priests, who have spent some time in custody but are now free on conditional bail while charges are being drawn up.
The police informed Enable that Fr. Arulraj had attempted to bribe officials.
“We think he offered something in the region of £12,000 to £15,000 to local police and local authorities to avoid prison,” said Colin Harte, Enable’s general secretary.
“He has been able to get away with it so far. We want to appeal to the Indian authorities to take proper action. Indian justice is at stake here.
“If the authorities don’t punish Arulraj, it could have repercussions beyond that of justice for the children; the confidence of other agencies working in India and other developing countries could be badly affected.”
In a letter to Enable supporters, Bishop Pudhota Chinniah Balaswamy, the outgoing Bishop of Nellore, said he was “shocked” by Fr. Arulraj’s actions. “His subsequent decision to abandon a good number of children in order to protect his own interests also pains me greatly,” he said. “I am sure that we can jointly rectify the defects and restore the heavy damages.”
Fr. Arulraj is understood to have embezzled Enable’s funds through his own “partner” organisation, the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD).
In April last year, Enable became aware of what it described on its website as a “serious problem with Fr. Arulraj” after the priest refused access to the group’s accounts.
Fr. Paulinraj, who was secretary and treasurer of the DNSSD, resigned unexpectedly on May 25. Six days later Enable asked Fr. Arulraj to step down from his position immediately on suspicion of financial irregularities. In June, Mr. Harte made an emergency trip to India, staying in Ongole, southern India. While there, he visited the Enable Centre for Disabled Children and found it had been closed and locked up. He heard that children arriving for the beginning of the academic year had been turned away.
It also emerged that Fr. Arulraj had written to donors in Britain asking for money to be sent to him directly.
From his hiding place, Fr. Arulraj sent letters to police accusing Enable chiefs of stealing funds and other serious crimes.
“This was despicable of him,” said Mr. Harte. “He hoped it would distract from the investigation against him.”
Local Superintendent Mr. N. Balasubramaniam had assured Mr. Harte that Fr. Arulraj and his nephew would be brought to justice before Christmas. However, as The Catholic Herald went to press, charges had still not been filed.
Enable Chairwoman Alison Davis, voted Catholic Woman of the Year in 2002, said that she was “extremely saddened” by Fr. Arulraj’s betrayal. “We understand that he has several mistresses and he has been buying houses for them with Enable money,” she said. “He has betrayed us, but more importantly, he has betrayed the children that we are trying to help.”
Exchange of correspondence with Mr. Colin Harte, Secretary General of Enable, UK
(Modification: The rest of the correspondence was removed on Mr. Harte’s request.)
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:11 AM Subject: ephesians-511.net
Greetings from England,
I came across your website tonight and just wanted to write a note of thanks for you for it and the work you are doing.
I have had an unfortunate experience with some priests in Andhra Pradesh, and their bishop who prefers to turn a blind eye to their behaviour (see http://gali-arulraj.blogspot.co.uk/) and it was very positive for me to see your website and be reminded of the genuine, faith-filled attitude of Catholics in India.
I just wanted to say thank you and to encourage you to keep the faith and to promote it joyfully.
God bless you and your family, Colin
Nice to hear from you. I went through the blog. Shocking. The embezzled sum in question is a fortune in England, forget about India! I wish I could put up the story on my web site. But I cannot do it for several reasons. It has moral, financial and administrative lapses and malpractices; my ministry is about exposing New Age, heresy, doctrinal & liturgical error, etc. Two, I do not know “Enable” or the background. I never write unless I am 101% certain of the facts from all angles. The blog is not exhaustive and I do not have the time to search for information. I am in the middle of a crusade against John Wijngaards’ womenpriests.org that has surfaced in India.
What intrigues me is the affair that one of the priests is openly involved in. Now that is not very common in India, I think.
In closing, let me thank you for writing and saying nice things about my ministry.
You take care and keep up your good work and don’t be discouraged by your past experience.
With kind regards, Michael
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 3:43 PM Subject: RE: ephesians-511.net
Many thanks for replying. It’s kind of you to even think of putting the story on your website, but I really don’t expect you to do so. Your site is covering other things, which are important in themselves. I am also impressed that you are unwilling to cover anything unless you are certain of all the facts from all angles. This is important and a view that I always take too!
I would appreciate it if you could remember the situation in the Diocese of Nellore in your prayers. […]
FROM THE BLOG OF MR. COLIN HARTE OF ENABLE, UK:
Gali Arulraj – the scamming priest
How is it possible for a man to have a ‘wife’ and (at least) two children, to separate himself from his bishop for nearly 15 years, to be facing criminal charges for fraud, theft and other serious crimes, and even then to continue his scamming – and yet remain a Catholic priest?
A disclaimer of sorts
This is not an anti-Catholic or anti-clerical blog. Far from it. Though I do not present myself as a model Catholic (few of us, alas, are), I firmly believe in and cherish the Catholic faith. I esteem the Catholic priesthood and the countless thousands of priests who live lives of dedicated service. Regrettably there are some priests who dishonour the priesthood.
Just weeks before he was elected Pope, the future Benedict XVI lamented: “How much filth there is in the Church and even among those in the priesthood.” But how can the Church be purified of that filth if Bishops fail to exercise the authority given to them to purify the Church of that filth?
This is a personal blog and responsibility for it lies solely with me and not with any other individuals or organisations with which I am associated. Having said that, I am pretty sure that everyone I associate with would agree with me in regarding a scammer like Gali Arulraj, who has used and is still using the Catholic priesthood as a front for stealing funds intended for disabled children, as being among the most contemptible people on the planet.
Gali Arulraj is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Nellore, in Andhra Pradesh state, South India. He was ordained a priest in 1981.
While parish priest in the town of Kanigiri, he established an independent charity called the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD). Since its inception Arulraj has been Director of DNSSD.
Between 1998 and 2006 the main donor to DNSSD was a registered UK charity, Enable (Working in India).
Since 2006, Enable has discovered that Arulraj, with associates, embezzled donations in excess of one million pounds.
In 2007, Gali Arulraj and three associates were charged by the Indian police, at Ongole, Andhra Pradesh, with a number of criminal offences, including theft, criminal conspiracy, ‘cheating’ and fraud. Those charged with Arulraj are (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj (Arulraj’s nephew who is also a priest of the Diocese of Nellore), Dr. Gudipati Subba Rao (a medical practitioner at the DNSSD projects), and Mrs. Gongeda Sujatha (described in the charge sheet and elsewhere as the ‘wife’ of Gali Arulraj. Her name is sometimes written as Gangada Sujatha).
The charges were brought in 2007, but the case has still not come to the criminal court.
Although Catholic priests are not allowed to marry, Mrs. Gongeda Sujatha is known as Arulraj’s ‘wife’. It is unclear whether they have formally married, but Arulraj is recognised as the father to her two young children.
There were several elements to Arulraj’s deception during the years that Enable supported DNSSD. At first he was a priest in good standing with his bishop and diocese. When he abandoned his diocesan responsibilities in violation of his obedience to his bishop (from 1997) and lived as a married man with his ‘wife’ and children, he continued to present himself as a priest in good standing. His deception was made possible due to the complicity of his nephew, (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj [whose name is sometimes given as Fr V. Paulin Raj], who served as Secretary/Treasurer of DNSSD. With Paulinraj at times concelebrating with him, Arulraj performed the sacred priestly action of celebrating Holy Mass, even though he was living a way of life that made a mockery of that sacred action.
(Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj assisted Arulraj’s deception
No one in Enable knew anything about Arulraj’s double life until June 2006.
Arulraj and Paulinraj embezzled funds by presenting Enable with sets of false accounts over several years. An informal set was provided for the calendar year during visits to India by Enable representatives each January. A formal set of accounts, signed off by a chartered accountant, Mr. Parchuri Venkata Ranganadham, of Ongole, was prepared for each financial year, ending in March. Enable was also presented with ‘bank statements’ signed by a manager of the Indian Overseas Bank, Trunk Road, Ongole (with whom I met and received confirmation of the authenticity of the ‘statements’). The subsequent police investigation revealed that both the bank manager and the chartered accountant had fraudulently approved entirely false accounts and bank statements. Arulraj’s ‘scam’ had been to simultaneously raise funds from other donors, about whom Enable was not informed, and there was no record of those other donations on the accounts shown to us. In turn, the other donors were not informed about the donations DNSSD received from Enable.
The scam enabled Arulraj and Paulinraj to embezzle more than one million pounds. They kept for themselves donations that had been given to support disabled children. In other words, they stole from the poorest in Indian society to enrich themselves. The evidence of their embezzlement was discovered in their bank accounts and possession of palatial private properties. Enable discovered a problem with the DNSSD accounts, from which the embezzlement was eventually discovered, in 2006. When Arulraj and Paulinraj failed to give an adequate reply to queries, as Enable’s General Secretary I contacted the Bishop of Nellore, then the Most Rev. P.C. Balaswamy, seeking his intervention. With his encouragement and support I presented the evidence of criminal wrongdoing to the police in June 2006. Bishop Balaswamy gave strong support to Enable’s attempts to justly resolve the problem with the two priests. When Arulraj and Paulinraj abandoned hundreds of children for whom they had assumed responsibility, Bishop Balaswamy asked for (and received) Enable’s assistance so that the Diocese would be able to support a number of them.
In December 2006, Bishop Balaswamy’s long-overdue retirement (several years after the expected Bishops’ retirement age of 75) was accepted and a successor, Bishop Doraboina Moses Prakasam, was appointed. To say that Enable’s Board of Trustees (including myself) are “disappointed” with the way Bishop Prakasam has addressed the scandal involving his two priests would be a charitable understatement.
Some details of what happened in 2006-2007 and subsequently will be described in other posts.
Having kept a low profile for a few years Arulraj re-emerged in February 2012, presenting himself as Director of the New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped. On his Linked-In Profile, Arulraj presents himself as a priest, describing himself as Fr Gali Arulraj, Director at New Life Society for the poor and handicapped, whereas on a website for that “Society”, launched in March 2012, he describes himself as Mr. G.A. Raj, Director.
[UPDATE 30 March 2012: Following the exposure given by this blog, the profile and website have already been removed]
The projects described on Arulraj’s professionally designed website, for which he is seeking donations, are non-existent. I will describe the scam in subsequent posts.
This blog has been set up to expose Arulraj’s continued scams. Having experienced Arulraj’s deception over a period of many years, I feel a responsibility to warn others of what he is currently doing. As a Catholic myself, it is with much regret that I find myself having to expose a consummate scammer who is also a Catholic priest. The regret is accompanied by considerable dismay that Bishop Prakasam of Nellore has turned a deaf ear to repeated requests, since I first met him in January 2007, for Arulraj’s canonical status to be addressed. The ongoing scandal of the “scammer priest” could so easily have been prevented.
March 17, 2012
You receive a letter or email from an organisation in India, describing the dire need of children who are disabled, homeless, sick, orphaned, hungry or needing clean water. Of course, you are moved by compassion and want to help – but you wonder whether the appeal is authentic. Could it not, after all, be a scam? One way of checking its authenticity, you might think, is to see what is said about the organisation online.
An online search for The New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped will reveal a professionally produced website http://thenewlifesociety.com/ for what appears to be a credible society, actively working for some of the poorest in India. The impressive-looking website (expensively produced by Bhoomica InfoGraphics in Hyderabad, A.P., as a little background checking reveals) suggests that you can confidently donate and that your contribution will make a difference to the lives of those greatly in need.
But is the “New Life Society” really as it seems? Unfortunately…no.
Some Scam Observations
1. The contact details of the ‘”New Life Society” on the “Contact us” page are “Rehabilitation Centre, Annavarapadu, Ongole.” This is, in fact, the address of a Centre, the construction of which was funded by Enable and which is legally owned by the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD). Until the criminal case concerning Arulraj and the DNSSD comes to trial it is unlawful for this property to be sold. This has been Arulraj’s base since 2001.
2. DNSSD was primarily involved with supporting disabled children. The many photos of children on the “New Life Society” site were supported by DNSSD before 2006. It is particularly reprehensible that they should now be used as part of Arulraj’s scam, given that most of them were abandoned by Arulraj in 2006. Amongst those children who remained in one of the DNSSD centres after that date were some – included in the website photos – who credibly told me and others personally in January 2007 that they had been intimidated and even beaten by DNSSD personnel after Enable’s association with DNSSD ended in May 2006. (I will write more about this in another post)
3. Not even one photo of the children on the website was taken after 2006. Some photos were taken in 2003-2004. I know that some of the photos were taken in January 2002. How do I know? Because I took them and possess the originals and negatives! And I very much object to my own photographs being used now as part of Arulraj’s scam.
4. An impressive list of other services is given. Some of them are wholly fictitious: having photographs of elderly people attending a function (at a DNSSD centre!) and providing them with a meal (as happens at such functions in India) does not constitute care for them, and there is not even one “old age home” run by any organisation with which Arulraj is involved. Several years ago Enable provided DNSSD with funds for such things as polio surgeries, hand water pumps, and vocational training courses, and so Arulraj has photographs to show an involvement with such things. But those days are in the distant past.
5. In the “About Us” page it states that the New Life Society was registered in Andhra Pradesh in 1999. Either it was registered later than that date (in which case the site is being deliberately deceptive) or it has been scamming since then and raising money for non-existent projects — possibly claiming that DNSSD projects (funded by Enable) were projects of the New Life Society, with Arulraj pocketing all the donations received for them. If the New Life Society had actually been doing any concrete public service since 1999, why are all the photographs on the website of activities associated with the DNSSD?
6. On the “project experiences” page it says that the New Life Society has “3 decades of experienced management in the community development.” This is quite a remarkable accomplishment for a Society registered, according to the same website, for 13 not 30 years. This, and the other ‘experiences’ are entirely made up. It sounds great, but has no substance to it whatsoever.
7. One page describes “Our team” – but only one person is in fact mentioned: “Mr. G. A. Raj.” He is described as having “undergone a number of interstate, national and international exposures.” As the name “Mr. G.A. Raj” has received no exposure until now, this is in fact untrue. However, given that his alter-ego “Fr Gali Arulraj” has been widely exposed as a fraudster, scammer, and thief, perhaps it should be applauded as a uniquely truthful statement. As he clearly esteems exposure, I trust that Arulraj will be grateful for the exposure given to him by this blog.
8. If its Director is “Fr Gali Arulraj” (as stated on Arulraj’s Linked-In profile) why the deception on the New Life Society website that it’s Director is Mr. G.A. Raj?
A cynical manifestation of religious idealism – by a priest of all people – to promote a scam
9. The prominent display of images of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta and Jesus Christ on the website promoting such a despicable scam, shows Arulraj’s contempt for the religion of which he is supposed to be a priest.
How the scam works
March 18, 2012
How could Gali Arulraj get away with scamming Enable and other agencies for so many years? Didn’t Enable monitor the projects? Didn’t Enable view his society’s accounts?
In fact, Enable was more conscientious about monitoring the projects in India than most comparable international agencies. Two of Enable’s trustees visited the projects in India in 1995, 1997, and 1998. Thereafter, at least two trustees (and usually more) visited each January between 2001 and 2006, each visit lasting two weeks. During those January visits Enable’s trustees closely monitored how well the projects were functioning, discussed possible developments, and went carefully through the accounts statements with Gali Arulraj and Vatakili Paulinraj. We examined the formal accounts we had received for the financial year (ending in March), which were signed off by the chartered account, Mr. Parchuri Venkata Ranganadham (whom I met). We also examined an informal set of accounts for the calendar year (January to December) and based subsequent funding decisions on (what we reasonably believed to be) accurate and reliable information.
As has been described in the first post on this blog, the chartered accountant signed off statements of the accounts knowing them to be entirely false. They were tailor-made to deceive Enable. There is nothing that an overseas aid agency can do in the face of systematic corruption by people who are willing not only to violate their professional code of ethics but to break the law. It was only by chance that Enable uncovered Arulraj’s scam with the DNSSD after discovering that Mr. Ranganadham had falsely certified the accounts of another charity.
The formal sets of DNNSD accounts were also signed off by Arulraj (as shown in the picture below). The informal accounts, which were equally false, were signed off by both Arulraj and Paulinraj (further below).
Fraudulent DNSSD accounts for the financial year ending March 2006
signed off by the chartered accountant and Gali Arulraj
Fraudulent informal DNSSD accounts for the calendar year Jan- Dec 2005, signed by Paulinraj and Arulraj, presented to Enable’s trustees in January 2006 in order to raise funds by deception.
(This is my copy and the scribbling on the right hand side is mine, converting the figures given in Indian rupees into pounds. This is the summary page and further details were provided on attached pages.)
How the scams in countries like India work:
Scam Level 1. At this level scams are simple. The scammer provides no service whatsoever, but provides potential donors with plans, e.g., to provide a community water pump. If the scammer gets funding, he merely obtains old photos from other service providers and sends them to the donors showing them how well their money was used. (Their donation, of course, has helped nobody but the scammer). Of course, even scams like this require an investment from the scammer – there are costs involved in getting letters and photos printed and mailed overseas. If the investment is £300, but results in funds of £5,000 then the investment is well worth it.
Scam Level 2. Scams at this level require a little more investment if there is a chance that there may at some point be monitoring of the projects for which funding is sought. If the scammer is obtaining funds for a school for 100 poor children, he might rent a small property and village children might be invited occasionally for something like a cultural programme or medical check-up. He might give a cash incentive to the children’s family to encourage the participation of the children. If someone from an international agency were to visit, the scammer would make sure that the children were in attendance during the few hours that the visit would take place. It would be unlikely that the visitor spoke the children’s language and so he or she could not directly question the children. Compared with Level 1 scams, the scammer might have to make a larger investment, say £5,000 but it would be well worth it if the returns were, say, £20,000.
Scam Level 3. At this level the scammer has to work much harder and actually provide a real service that has real beneficiaries. Arulraj’s scam during the years 1995 – 2006 worked at this level, and the harder he worked the more lucrative it became. The fact that he could verifiably demonstrate significant benefits to those in need – by providing surgery, educating very disabled children, building more residential centres, etc. – made it easier to gain the confidence of donors. A Level 3 scammer would, for example, seek £5,000 from a donor for surgery for 25 children and then show the donor photos of the children after they had it. Two or three other donors would make the same donation (believing they were funding the surgery) and receive the same photos. With this scam, 25 children would have benefited from surgery, but this would effectively be an ‘investment’ by the scammer, who would be keeping for himself the ‘duplicate’ donations for the same service. At this level, the scam requires fraudulent accounting. Arulraj’s scam worked thanks to the complicity of his chartered accountant Mr. P.V. Ranganadham. Yes, Arulraj did provide an actual service for a large number of disabled children. Enable’s intensive monitoring over several years required this. During the financial year 2005-2006 Arulraj’s ‘investment’ (i.e., the amount he spent from donations to DNSSD on providing a concrete service for disabled children) was about £185,000. However, he siphoned off for himself a similar sized amount from donations not declared in the DNSSD accounts.
Ironically, it was Arulraj who explained to me (when we were on good terms before 2006) how scams work in India, though he spoke only of Level 1 and Level 2 scams, of which he was contemptuous. He spoke about the scams as a contrast to the ‘genuine’ service that he was providing! He didn’t speak of Level 3 scams (which is not surprising!), yet these are, in my view, even more contemptible. Arulraj knew the serious needs of disabled children in his region. He knew that although many were being helped, so many others desperately lacked the care and support – medical, personal, social and educational – that would have made an enormous difference to their lives and the lives of the families. He stole from those who have needs greater than anything he will ever experience. His theft demonstrates that he was not concerned about caring for disabled children. For him they were merely a business: the bigger the ‘investment,’ the greater his financial reward.
Having been a Level 3 scammer until 2006, Arulraj Raj is now an occasional Level 2 scammer, but generally operates now at Level 1.
From the mouth of a consummate scammer
March 19, 2012
Following on from yesterday’s post I found an email, sent to me and also to Enable’s Chair (Alison Davis) on 8 December 2004. It describes how scams work in the state of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.), where DNSSD is based. The email is from none other than the expert scammer Gali Arulraj. Here is the relevant extract, reproduced as it was written:
“I wish to share with you some information about NGOs in A.P.
There are 4000 NGOs in A.P. Most of them exist in paper. Nearly 20% work here and there genuinely. These are mostly church related organizations. These organizations also have different aims and areas of working. There is one organization in Ongole they are working for erradicating the child labour. But mostly it is some sort of employment for the NGOs.
In every projects they plan 70% would go for salaries and 30% would reach real beneficiaries. There are some NGOs who are always interested to get addresses (donors) and apply for some amount which is not realistic because they are not sure whether the agency would give the help needed and therefore they apply for small help because they think whatever comes is O.K.
[…]There may be some NGOs who will have 10 donors correspondence and ask all of them equal amount then they get what they need. To all of them they would give the same picture of the building. In this situation a donor can be happy that they asked for small amount for a big building.
[…]Many organizations give money and they would never visit and that type of projects would remain only in the paper. Since you come every year you know what is happening and the developments etc.”
Arulraj also spoke on this topic of scamming to us several times. It was obviously a topic close to his heart.
Arulraj’s contact details from his website
March 19, 2012
Rehabilitation Centre, Annavarappadu, Ongole
Phone: 9989604414; +919989604414; 08592-224110; +91 8592-224110; +918592-224110; +918592224110; +91 8592224110
If anyone gets an unsolicited mailing from Arulraj, possibly under the name of a different Society but with the same telephone numbers, and google searches the number in order to get more information, they will find this post – and will have avoided being scammed. It’s my pleasure to have helped :-).
The evidence of Arulraj’s million pound scam
March 19, 2012
The palatial property in Gollipudi Street, Santhapet, Ongole built for Arulraj’s wife and children from embezzled funds
The same property, which is so secluded it cannot be seen clearly from the main road, and is too large to be pictured clearly. This side view was photographed by me after a neighbour allowed me access to his property.
“I can live my priestly life under a tree or in a hut. I do not need these buildings. They are meant for the disabled children and not for me. I have lived hard way and I can live hard way till my death.”
– (Fr) Gali Arulraj. Email to Enable’s Chair, Alison Davis, 6 May 2006
“All these years I was doing all the works that have been asked by Fr Gali Arulraj on your behalf without taking a rupee except the gift you give when you come to India.”
– (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj. Final email to Alison Davis and Colin Harte, 3 June 2006
Well, that’s what they said……but the evidence tells a very different story:
The fraudulent DNSSD accounts for the year ending March 2006 indicate that apart from about £3,000 received from two other sources, DNSSD relied on Enable to funds its projects. This was the pattern of previous years too and Enable understood it was providing 98% of DNSSD’s income.
The (genuine) DNSSD bank statements (of which I now have a copy), that came to light during the police investigation, revealed that in the years during which Enable understood that it was providing a necessary 98% of DNSSD’s income, it was in fact providing only 37% of its income. In addition to Enable’s funds, DNSSD received during that period donations of INR (Indian Rupees) 85,350,785 from other overseas sources. This amount was embezzled – not used for charitable purposes. Taking into account fluctuations in the exchange rate this is an amount in the region of 1.2 million pounds sterling (close to two million dollars or euros).
If you scammed a million pounds in the UK or the equivalent amount of dollars in the USA you would be a wealthy person. Multiply that amount several times and you will get a glimpse of the scale of luxury provided by Arulraj’s scam in a small town like Ongole in South India.
The charge sheet, dealing with the crimes of Arulraj and his associates was filed in court in Ongole and reveals what happened to some of the embezzled funds. In addition to the property, photographed above, it gives details of other properties (not previously declared) in Ongole and also one as far away as Bangalore.
The charge sheet gives details of a property, constructed for INR 21,01,112 (about £30,000 – a large amount in Ongole) in the name of (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj. Why he needed the house is unclear given that he was working as a parish priest some distance away at the time, living in a house provided by the diocese. Unlike Arulraj who was scamming full-time, Paulinraj visited the DNSSD projects for just a few hours every week or two. There is no way that a priest like Paulinraj could have honestly amassed such a large amount (especially by Indian standards) to construct a house for himself. Paulinraj also had INR 48,77,700 (about £70,000) transferred from DNSSD in his bank account. Arulraj rewarded his nephew Paulinraj well for his involvement in the scams, no doubt knowing he couldn’t have been so successful without him.
In addition to the properties he bought or constructed from embezzled funds, the charge sheet records that Arulraj had INR 65,56,749 (about £94,000) transferred from DNSSD in his personal bank account. The DNSSD bank statements show that the charity account had also been used like a personal bank account with a range of large withdrawals made over the years for unidentified purposes.
The evidence of the bank statements, as well as the findings uncovered by the Indian police investigation and included in the charge sheet, demonstrates clearly that Gali Arulraj, with the support of Vatakili Paulinraj and others, was a million pound scammer.
March 19, 2012
LinkedIn profile of “Fr Gali Arulraj” – screenshot of 17 March 2012
If Gali Arulraj were an ‘ordinary Joe’ his actions, while contemptible, would not cause the same degree of consternation. It is precisely because he is a priest that his behaviour has been truly shocking. Apart from the recent subterfuge of calling himself “Mr. G.A. Raj,” Arulraj has insisted on using the title of “Fr Gali Arulraj” and introducing himself as a Catholic priest.
It is as a Catholic priest that he has sent malicious letters (about me and others in Enable) to just about anyone he can think of including Archbishop Vincent Nichols (of Westminster) and my own bishop, Bishop Christopher Budd (of Plymouth Diocese). It is still how he presents himself on the LinkedIn profile set up in February 2012. And when his case comes to trial, he and Paulinraj will be tried (and, if justice is served, convicted) as Catholic priests.
The scandal of Arulraj – and also of Paulinraj – is compounded by the fact that neither of them has incurred so much as a suspension of their priestly faculties or, in fact, any disciplinary penalty from their bishop.
After discussions with informed people who were able to enlighten him about the situation with Arulraj, Archbishop Nichols wrote a letter, dated 18 October 2007, to Arulraj’s bishop, Bishop Moses Doraboina Prakasam. He asked for a clarification of the status of Arulraj, and said:
“I understand from very reliable sources in this country that the accusations [against officials in Enable] that Fr Arulraj makes in his letter are not only unfounded but they are also part of an aggressive defence that he is mounting to defend himself against charges of fraud and theft.
I am of the impression that he has written to many of the Bishops of England and Wales. To have done so is an act of considerable deceit which surely has grave consequences.”
Archbishop Nichols rightly pointed out to Arulraj’s bishop that even for Arulraj to write a letter to bishops in England and Wales containing unfounded allegations was “an act of considerable deceit which surely has grave consequences.” Yet, for this act Arulraj suffered no consequences from his bishop. And there have been no consequences, grave or otherwise, for Arulraj and Paulinraj, in spite of much more serious acts committed while presenting themselves as Catholic priests.
Since January 2007 I have met Bishop Prakasam in Nellore, India and in London. I have written to him countless times, asking time and time again for him to deal with the two priests. After the first meeting in January 2007 he assured me that he would be taking appropriate action. By email, he informed me on 21 May 2007: “I am initiating the process of giving a canonical conclusion to the status of Arulraj, as per the Cannon [sic] Law.” When I discovered a few months later that nothing in fact had been initiated I wrote to him on 26 November 2007, with a “formal request” for disciplinary action to be taken against Gali Arulraj and Vatakili Paulinraj. The letter said:
In January, I informed you that Enable’s Trustees do not believe that Enable, as an organisation, has a responsibility to ask you to discipline your priests. However, individuals within Enable, including myself and other trustees, are entitled to express their opinions informally and even to raise matters formally with you.
On several occasions since January, I have mentioned that I was expressing informally to you the sense of outrage caused by the behaviour of both Arulraj and Paulinraj, and I have expressed an expectation that their bishop should take proper disciplinary action against them. I am saddened that I have had to express my opinion so frequently, and that you have not taken any action. A bishop who is conscious of his responsibilities when faced with the sorts of outrages committed by Arulraj and Paulinraj should take action without being asked formally to do so, and I have not wanted to ask you formally to take action because this in itself suggests that you have been negligent in taking the action expected of you.
It is therefore with much regret that I am now writing to you, more ten months after I first raised these matters with you, to ask you formally to take proper disciplinary action against your two priests. Arulraj merits immediate suspension from all priestly ministry, with a further canonical process to consider whether he should be dismissed from the priesthood. Paulinraj merits at least an immediate suspension from all public priestly ministry, including suspension from his position as parish priest. There may well be grounds for further disciplinary action to be taken against Paulinraj, given his close association with Arulraj’s activities.
You have already received details about the activities of Arulraj and Paulinraj from me, Bishop Balaswamy and [a diocesan official]. You have also received a copy of the charge sheets drawn up for their trial at the criminal court at Ongole […]
Each of Enable’s trustees has asked to be included in this formal request for disciplinary action to be taken against Arulraj and Paulinraj. The names of these trustees are Ms. Alison Davis, Mr. Colin Harte, Mrs. Eileen Brydon, Mrs. Janet Thomas, Dr. Hugh Heggary, and Mr. Robin Haig. The trustees are all Catholics and are fully informed of the actions of Arulraj and Paulinraj which they find entirely incompatible with that of the priestly ministry. Like me, the trustees regret that you chose not to discipline your priests before now, and regret the need to ask you formally to take action. Our formal request reflects the opinion expressed by many hundreds of supporters of Enable from both the laity and clergy.
Five years on from my first meeting with Bishop Nellore, no progress has been made.
When a bishop refuses to take action…
March 20, 2012
When I first met Bishop Prakasam in January 2007, a few days after his installation as Bishop of Nellore, I told him about a case that was just then being reported concerning a priest in America, Fr Rodney Rodis. It had come to light that the priest had embezzled six hundred thousand dollars (about £400,000) from parish funds to buy a property and fund a lifestyle for himself and (would you have guessed?) his ‘wife’ and children.
Immediately Rodis’ priestly faculties were suspended. He was subsequently convicted of embezzlement and is now serving an 18-year prison sentence. He is described in reports now as an ex-priest.
While there are certain similarities between the cases of Rodis and Arulraj, the latter case is much worse, in view of the scale of Arulraj’s embezzlement (not only in terms of the amount itself, but the fact that one million pounds in India has a value far greater than it has in the US or UK), and the fact that his embezzlement was from funds donated to benefit the poorest of the poor. For heaven’s sake: how much lower can you get than stealing money given to benefit disabled children who are in the most desperate need? It also has very serious implications for the confidence that Catholics in wealthier countries can have when responding to appeals for donations from priests and religious in developing countries.
A major difference, however, is that Arulraj is still a priest who can legitimately call himself “Fr Gali Arulraj.” He is not impeded from presenting himself as a priest and celebrating Mass. And there is no indication that this state of affairs will ever change.
Bishop Prakasam has suggested that he cannot do anything until the matter is resolved in the criminal court. Apart from this being untrue in itself (as the Rodis case demonstrated), objections to Arulraj’s (and Paulinraj’s) behaviour go much further than the issue of their embezzlement of money.
As part of a longer email, dated 8 April 2010, to Bishop Prakasam I summarised the case against Arulraj and Paulinraj.
“In any case, it is false to suggest that the resolution of criminal charges is necessary before you can take action against your two priests. The criminal charges against Arulraj and Paulinraj refer to such matters as their embezzlement of charitable funds, criminal conspiracy and fraud. These charges are incidental to action required of you with respect to Arulraj, and are only partly relevant to action required of you with respect to Paulinraj.
[The Case against Arulraj]
With respect to Arulraj, the action canonically requested (and required) of you does not depend on the resolution of the criminal case, because the grounds for action are not related to those criminal charges. Rather, they are connected to such things as: (i) his being publicly regarded as married, whether or not he is formally married, (ii) his having two children, for whom he has an ongoing responsibility, with the woman who is understood to be his wife, (iii) his having separated himself from the authority of and obedience owed to the Bishop of Nellore since 1997/1998 (iii) the unrepented violation of his sacred oaths of celibacy and obedience since 1997/1998, (iv) his simulation of working in Ongole with the permission of his bishop, as indicated by his having a chapel with the reserved Blessed Sacrament (which is not allowed without the bishop’s approval), (v) his explicit declaration that the bishop had given him permission to work for his charitable organisation, in order that he could deceptively obtain funds from Catholics overseas, (vi) his functioning as a priest since 1997/1998, especially his saying Holy Mass (publicly), which is a matter of scandal in view of the revelation that he had separated himself from his bishop and was living a family life incompatible with that of the priesthood, (vii) his malicious and untruthful allegations made publicly in print about your predecessor, Bishop Balaswamy, which are a cause of scandal.
[The Case against Paulinraj]
With respect to Paulinraj, there are serious complaints unrelated to the criminal case in view of (i) his support for Arulraj’s activities from 1997/1998, knowing that Arulraj was a priest who had separated himself from his bishop, (ii) his collaboration in Arulraj’s deception that he was a priest in good standing with the diocese. Paulinraj took part in numerous conversations over the years in which I expressed concerns about the future running of the DNSSD projects if Bishop Balaswamy or his successor should transfer Arulraj to other diocesan duties. Paulinraj was complicit in Arulraj’s deception to the extent of telling me untruthfully that Bishop Balaswamy had visited the DNSSD projects in Ongole and that he had been impressed with them (iii) his collaboration with Arulraj’s attempt to raise money from Catholics overseas, who would not have supported him had they known he was not a priest in good standing, (iv) his collaboration with Arulraj even though he knew he had a ‘wife’ and children, (v) his collaboration in the scandal of concelebrating Holy Mass with Arulraj during the period 1997/1998 – 2006, even though he knew that Arulraj had separated himself from the Bishop and was living a scandalous personal life, (vi) his own involvement with DNSSD, serving as Secretary/Treasurer, even though the Bishop had prohibited priests from holding positions of responsibility in non-diocesan charities.
Associated with the criminal case there are additional complaints with respect to Paulinraj, relating to his embezzlement of funds, criminal conspiracy, deception, fraud, etc. The scandal, for example, of his fraudulently appealing for funds after the December 2004 tsunami would be, in itself, serious grounds for taking action against him.”
In fact, Enable had made clear from the beginning of our discussions with Bishop Prakasam (as we had previously with Bishop Balaswamy) that our main concern was for the wellbeing of the disabled children we had been supporting. We even said we would not pursue a criminal case against Arulraj and Paulinraj if only they would stand aside and enable us to continue, with the assistance of honest people in the area, to care for the children. In my email to Bishop Prakasam I highlighted the fact that their actions were additionally reprehensible on account of their lack of concern for the wellbeing of children for whom they had assumed a responsibility:
[Using vulnerable children for financial gain and then abandoning them]
“I should just add that I have not given, above, an exhaustive list of complaints against either Arulraj or Paulinraj. In particular, emphasis must be put on the way that they used hundreds of vulnerable and disabled children for personal financial gain. They accepted a responsibility for these children, but abandoned most of them when their misdeeds came to light. Even aside from the fact that they stole large sums of money that had been donated to help these children (not to enrich greedy priests), their behaviour after their criminal activities came to light is particularly worthy of censure. Enable asked the two priests (particularly Paulinraj) to behave decently so that the children would not be adversely affected. However, they refused to withdraw from the projects so that Enable could continue, with the assistance of other honest people, to provide care for the children.
In 2006 (before the problem with the priests/DNSSD emerged), Enable was providing funding for DNSSD to care for hundreds of disabled children — for residential care, for surgical operations, for education, for scholarships, etc. By 2007, having abandoned the vast majority of the children — especially those with more serious disabilities, which required more attention — DNSSD had responsibility for less than 100 children, and we informed you of the first-hand evidence we had of the children receiving physical beatings as well as emotional abuse. Hundreds of children were simply abandoned by Arulraj and Paulinraj, and the remaining few have not received adequate care. Even if your two priests had done nothing else that was wrong, they must surely be answerable for the shameful abandonment of the children in their care, and the neglect of the remaining few (who were brought back to the institutions by Arulraj more to give the semblance of care than for the purpose of providing any real care). The way in which the two priests used the disabled children as a business for financial gain, and subsequently abandoned or neglected them when their criminal activity was detected, is surely among those sins listed as crying to heaven for vengeance.”
To this email, like others before and after, the response was the same: nothing was done.
Bishop Prakasam’s response to outrageous allegations about his predecessor
During the years 2006 – 2009 Enable’s UK supporters received a stream of letters from India. Some were sent in Arulraj’s name, or in the names of children or college students, seeking money. It was obvious to all that they were written by Arulraj (not least because the Telugu-speaking children would not be able to understand let alone compose a letter written in English). In an email, dated 9 May 2008, I informed Bishop Prakasam about a letter that made malicious allegations about his predecessor, Bishop Balaswamy.
“Even in the past week Enable’s supporters have been receiving a letter, dated 24 April 2008, which was sent in the name of three students that we were supporting, but obviously it has been written and mailed by Arulraj and Paulinraj. In addition to malicious and baseless allegations about me, the letter alleges that Enable sent £120,000 (one hundred and twenty thousand pounds) to Bishop Balaswamy for him to bribe Indian officials to take action against Arulraj. The letter says that Bishop Balaswamy misused the whole amount and that when this was discovered he was removed from office and you were appointed in his place. It is disgraceful that your two priests should be behind such a letter making such malicious lies about Bishop Balaswamy. They have confidence to do these things, because they expect that, as in the past, you will take no action against them.
I ask you, please, to take heed of the grave scandal that this sort of letter is causing to our supporters, among whom are both Catholics and non-Catholics. And I ask you, please, to take heed of the grave scandal caused by your unwillingness to take proper disciplinary measures as called for by your episcopal office.”
To this email, like others before and after, the response was the same: nothing was done.
Am I being so unreasonable in asking: why is the Bishop of Nellore doing nothing about this?
March 20, 2012
On his “New Life Society” website he wishes to be known as “Mr. G.A. Raj”.
Arulraj’s preference for lay status should be facilitated as soon as possible
I started this blog the day after Arulraj’s scamming website for “The New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped” was brought to my attention. What I have written here gives anyone who is making an internet search connected with this “New Life Society” enough information to avoid being scammed, so this blog has served its primary purpose.
Maybe Arulraj will always be a scammer – that’s up to him. Nobody is born a scammer. We choose whether we want to live honestly or whether we want to cheat others. I wish Arulraj would choose a better life. But it’s up to him.
What is truly offensive, though, to any Catholic – and indeed to any decent human being – is to have someone scamming who is a priest.
And so the question posted in the sub-heading of the blog must be addressed:
How is it possible for a man to have a ‘wife’ and (at least) two children, to separate himself from his bishop for nearly 15 years, to be facing criminal charges for fraud, theft and other serious crimes, and even then to continue his scamming – and yet remain a Catholic priest?
With Arulraj’s renewed scamming activities – online for all to see – his bishop must now surely address his status as a priest. And if he does not, all Catholics are entitled to ask: why is he not doing something about Arulraj?
There is much more that could be said about Arulraj. Perhaps one day I will post on this blog more evidence of his scamming activities. (I have enough evidence to keep me busy for a long time.) However, I would prefer not to. What has been posted is bad enough. This blog was set up out of a sense of obligation to fellow Catholics and others who deserve better than to be scammed by a priest of the Diocese of Nellore who should have been dismissed from the clerical state long ago. I get no joy from posting what I have, and have no wish to post any more. Whether or not more is posted depends on whether Arulraj continues to scam, and especially whether he continues to scam as a priest.
This blog has highlighted the case of Arulraj, not that of Paulinraj, because I am not aware that Paulinraj is continuing to scam. Moreover, the case of Paulinraj is different from that of Arulraj. Perhaps he might have been an honest and faithful priest if he hadn’t been led astray by his uncle. Maybe there is still a chance that he could function as a priest. Unlike Arulraj, he at least does not have (as far as I know – though not much would surprise me nowadays) responsibilities for a wife and children that are incompatible with continuing to function as a priest. Nevertheless he has been active systematically over many years in committing serious crimes that bring disgrace to him and dishonour to the priesthood. (And there is more to his crimes than has so far been publicly revealed.) It is not sufficient for Bishop Prakasam to ‘resolve’ the matter by moving Paulinraj to a different part of the diocese (as parish priest with not only a care of souls but also with financial responsibilities) without any reparation for the serious harm that he has done. Until there is an acknowledgement from Paulinraj of his serious wrongdoing, and a demonstration that he is truly sorry for what he is done and sincerely willing to make amends, how can he have any credibility functioning as a priest?
There are also aspects of Bishop Prakasam’s handling of his two priests that I haven’t raised here, that give me cause for concern. For now, I prefer not to raise them. I hope that when Bishop Prakasam reads this blog he may recognise the need for him to reconsider his policy of inaction. Bishop Prakasam’s inaction raises too many questions, as I informed him in an email two years ago (24 March 2010):
“As you acknowledge, I do understand the situation in India, but this in no way excuses your failure to discipline your priests. In particular, the fact that Arulraj (living with a woman who is publicly regarded as his ‘wife’, and with whom he has two children) has not yet been dismissed from the clerical state — and, almost unimaginably, has not even been suspended from priestly ministry as is required by Canon Law* — is nothing short of scandalous. To Catholics here, your failure to take action means you are giving your support and protection to your priests. I am asked: Is the Bishop of Nellore a weak Bishop? Is he afraid to take action? Has he been intimidated by Arulraj and Paulinraj into not taking action? Have these priests got some sort of hold over him, so that he is effectively being blackmailed from taking action against them? Has the Bishop made an unworthy and shameful deal with the two priests, allowing them to continue in the priestly ministry if they give to the Diocese the money and properties at their disposal (when any criminal and civil cases against them have been concluded) obtained as a result of embezzling funds? Is the Bishop corrupt like his priests? When asked these questions I can only reply that I do not know the answers to any of them, but that I entirely agree with the questioners in deploring your inaction.”
*According to Canon Law if a priest attempts marriage he incurs an automatic – latae sententiae – suspension. If he is living as though he is married, then the bishop has to impose the suspension.
Can. 1394: 1. […] a cleric who attempts marriage, even if only civilly, incurs a latae sententiae suspension. If, after warning, he has not reformed and continues to give scandal, he can be progressively punished by deprivations, or even by dismissal from the clerical state.
Can. 1395: 1. Apart from the case mentioned in can. 1394, a cleric living in concubinage, and a cleric who continues in some other external sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue which causes scandal, is to be punished with a suspension. To this, other penalties can progressively be added if after a warning he persists in the offence, until eventually he can be dismissed from the clerical state.
As though it were a defence of his inaction, Bishop Prakasam informed me, by email, as recently as 12 February 2012: “Fr. Arulraj denies of having contacted [sic] any Civil Marriage.”
But in that case, Canon Law is crystal clear. If there is doubt as to whether Arulraj has formally married, then given that he is known to be living as though he is married (with a ‘wife’ and children) then he “is to be punished with a suspension.” And the person who is to impose the suspension is the bishop.
Far from there being uncertainty as to how Bishop Prakasam should act, Canon Law is clear. And on this matter, Canon Law reflects the opinion of just about every decent person who is surely appalled that someone like Arulraj – who has brought so much dishonour to the Catholic priesthood – could possibly remain a priest and be honoured with the title (still given to him by Bishop Prakasam in his February 2012 email) of “Fr” Arulraj.
Not only should Arulraj have been suspended many years ago, but also his dismissal from the priesthood is long overdue. And the fact that, after all he has done, he continues to have the protection of the Bishop of Nellore inevitably raises the question: why?
When I met Bishop Prakasam in January 2007 I had the impression that he was a good and honest bishop. Of course, that doesn’t count for a lot – for ten years I had believed that Arulraj and Paulinraj were good priests seeking to serve the poorest among whom they were working. Two years ago I did not know the answers to the questions I raised in the email, reproduced above, to Bishop Prakasam. I still do not know the answer to any of them.
For the sake of ensuring there is credibility not only in the presbyterate of the Diocese of Nellore, but also in the episcopate, I sincerely ask Bishop Prakasam: please resolve the scandal of “Father” Gali Arulraj now.
March 22, 2012
The Linked-In profile of “Fr Gali Arulraj” that is no more – removed today (22 March 2012)
Well, would you believe it?! This blog had its first viewers from India this morning, and a couple of hours later Arulraj has removed the Linked-In profile that he set up less than two months ago, in which he presented himself — as a priest – as “Fr Gali Arulraj, Director of the New Life Society for the poor and handicapped.”
(If you google the name “Gali Arulraj” the first thing that comes up still is a reference to the Linked-In profile. Although the link to the profile itself no longer works, you can still see Google’s cached image of 6 March 2012.).
Dare we hope that Arulraj’s conscience has been awakened and that he realises how greatly he insults the Catholic priesthood by presenting himself as a priest?
Dare we hope that we are closer to the day when Arulraj is no longer able to present himself as a priest?
Let’s see if the website of his (scamming) “New Life Society” will be removed next.
March 29, 2012
The scamming website has been down since 28 March – not even its logo remains
Well, would you believe it again?! It took a little longer, but after last week’s removal of the Linked-In profile for “Fr Gali Arulraj” we now have the removal of the website of his scamming “New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped.”
The website has been down for more than 24 hours, which suggests that there is not merely a temporary problem with it. If you go to the website you get a HTTP 403 Forbidden notice, which indicates that access to the website is being deliberately denied by the server. It is too early to say whether the website might be made active again.
Given that Arulraj went to the trouble and expense of setting up the website as part of his scam to make money, its removal is very welcome. In itself it has justified the presence of this blog.
The continued presence of this blog is also more than justified as a warning to anyone who is a potential victim of a scam by “Fr Gali Arulraj” or “Mr. G.A. Raj” working for the “Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development”, the “New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped”, or (another of his made-up charity names) the “Home for the Orphans and Disabled Children.”
The blog will also stay in order to draw attention to any new scams that come to my notice.
Of course, with the exposure that “Mr. G.A. Raj” was in fact Arulraj, he may have wanted his scamming New Life Society website removed as it was further evidence of his ongoing criminal activities. If there are any police officers, tax officials, Delhi Home Ministry officials, NGO Registration officials, FCRA investigators, or anybody else who needs evidence of the scamming website then they can still get that evidence. I made copies of everything that was on the website and will be happy to make them available.
A general email from Bishop Prakasam
April 2, 2012
A few people have sent me a copy of a general email sent today by Bishop Moses Prakasam of the Diocese of Nellore.
Bishop Prakasam’s email was a follow up to previous emails sent to a particular correspondent “and all” who share the concern expressed in this blog about the shameful actions of Gali Arulraj and the unwillingness of the Bishop of Nellore to even suspend him from the exercise of the priestly ministry.
The correspondent informs me that in his previous email he had expressed his dissatisfaction that Bishop Prakasam had been unwilling to clarify some points, e.g., he had understood from what the Bishop had written to him initially that Gali Arulraj had been excommunicated, and he could not see why the Bishop would not clarify whether this was so when he queried it. The correspondent had also indicated his dissatisfaction that the Bishop had said it was a ‘local Church’ matter and that he should be left to deal with it himself. Of course, by embezzling as a priest at least one million pounds from overseas donations to fund a rich lifestyle for himself, his ‘wife’ and children, Arulraj’s actions are not simply a matter of concern for the ‘local Church’ but a legitimate concern for many people way beyond the Diocese of Nellore.
Bishop Prakasam’s willingness to respond to those who are concerned (and from the feedback I have received, I can say with no exaggeration, outraged) about the matter aired on this blog is appreciated. In posting Bishop Prakasam’s email on this blog, I am happy for readers to consider thoughtfully what he says. Reading the email I readily agree with what Bishop Prakasam says about God being merciful, loving and forgiving, and that we are called to be merciful, loving and forgiving. However, with respect to Bishop Prakasam, most of what he says is not applicable to the concern of this blog which is precisely: how someone like Gali Arulraj can have acted as he has acted and can continue to act as he is acting – and still remain a Catholic priest. I hope that Bishop Prakasam will be willing to consider a reply to his email that I shall post in due course.
[Bishop Prakasam’s email is reproduced without editing, except that the name of his principal correspondent has been removed]
My Dear […] and all other Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings to you in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is never my intention to offend you or any one. I only wanted you to understand and allow us to act as a local church. My dear Brothers I wish to share with you my inner spirit and request you to understand and stand with me.
1. Of course I agree that someone raising funds internationally is a matter for concern for all. Usually when someone is appealing for funds as a Priest any individual Donor or Donor Agencies refer the matter to the Bishop of the Diocese and the Bishop will give either his approval or disapproval. That way I am always ready to respond to when such clarifications sought.
2. When I say “Not in communion with the Bishop” I do not mean ‘excommunication’. It means that a priest is not carrying on any active ministry that is officially assigned by the Bishop. He does not take part in any meetings, common celebrations and activities of the Diocese.
3. My Dear Brothers and Sisters without in any way minimising your concerns I wish to share with you the following. In this case we have many options before us.
a. Shall we be like Abel in the OT whose blood cried for vengeance for his on slaughter (Genesis 4:10) or shall we be like Jesus who in peak moment of His agony on the cross prayed for those who have crucified Him saying “Father Forgive them”. (Luke 23:34).
b. Should we expect erring brother be a wanderer and fugitive like Cain? (Genesis 4:13-16). Or shall we pray and hope that like David will repent for his sins one day and experience the forgiveness and merciful love of God? (2. Samuel 12:13 & psalm 51).
c. Shall we pray and hope that like the Father for the return of the prodigal son or shall we react like the eldest son? The prodigal son, in the sight of his father never ceased to be the son. Therefore great celebrations at his return. (Luke Ch.15).
d. Shall we pray and hope our erring brother like Peter to repent and receive the forgiveness of the Lord whom he betrayed or shall we want him like Judas Iscariot not to have recourse to the mercy and forgiveness of God and end up his life as Judas did? (Mk. Ch. 14:66-72 & Mt. Ch. 27:3-10).
e. Should we take up the stones and through at our erring brother or shall we like Jesus forgive him and pray for his conversion. (John 8:1-11).
f. Should we not remind ourselves of the abundant love and mercy Christ has shown us and show the same love and mercy towards each other? We repeatedly say in the prayer Jesus taught us “Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”.
I have humbly paced before you in a fraternal way the spirit with which I operate. It is not my intention to justify any one or to undermine the feelings and concerns of any one. What you experience is quite natural but my prayer and humble appeal to you is to rise to the supernatural levels to which Christ has taken us through His suffering, death on the cross and by His Resurrection. To celebrate Easter means to experience the immeasurable mercy and love of Christ individually and together as a Church. I have full respect to the law of the Church. I only wish to go by the spirit of the law rather than by the letter of it.
Recently it was brought to my notice how Arulraj Gali was meted with a very inhuman and most heinous treatment in the jail. He was beaten up the whole night and was made to accomplish some unspeakable acts. However guilty one might have been it pains me very much when any one of our Brother or Sister is treated that way. I do also understand and have empathy for you too what you have been going through.
It is not my intention to preach but this is what defines our entity as Christians called to have the mind attitude like that of Christ. (Please see the attachment). I shall continue my efforts of going out in search of the lost sheep. (Luke 15:1-10). On my part I continue my efforts. I plead you to join me with your prayers and Christian charity. As St. Paul says our call is to “overcome the evil with goodness”. (Romans 9:21).
Wish you and all a very meaningful and joyful Easter Festival.
With much love and prayers.
Yours fraternally in Christ,
+ Moses D. Prakasam.
[The attachment referred to in the final paragraph is reproduced below]
April 3, 2012
I have received a few emails today from people who said they didn’t realise that Gali Arulraj was in jail. Yesterday’s email from Bishop Prakasam of Nellore had mentioned beatings and “very inhuman and most heinous treatment” experienced by Arulraj in jail. I received emails asking when Arulraj was convicted, how long his sentence was, and whether he is still in jail.
To clarify the situation: Arulraj’s case has still not come before the criminal court. He has not (yet) been convicted. He is not (yet) in jail.
Arulraj spent some time in jail in 2006 or 2007. As I recall it was 2006. The reason that he spent time in jail had nothing whatsoever to do with Enable. Indeed nobody in Enable knew anything about it until sometime afterwards. He was jailed because he broke the conditions of his bail. In other words, he brought it upon himself.
Why he received such bad treatment in jail I do not know, but it could be that others took a dim view of him as he was well known in the town of Ongole after embezzling large sums of money that were intended to benefit disabled children. And is it surprising if they took such a dim view?
I have no idea why Bishop Prakasam mentioned this in his email. Whether or not Arulraj spent time in jail in the past, whether or not he was well treated, whether or not anyone should be concerned about how he was treated, whether or not he will spend time in jail in the future – the answers to each of these points are entirely incidental to the question of why, contrary to the law of the Church and the specific responsibility of the Bishop of Nellore, Arulraj is allowed to continue functioning as a Catholic priest.
April 14, 2012
Bishop Prakasam’s general email will receive the considered reply that it merits, but until then it is worth noting briefly the difference between the thinking of Bishop Prakasam and Pope Benedict XVI with respect to the implementation of canon law and how a bishop should respond to a priest’s shameful behaviour.
Refusing to respect Canon 1395.1 which requires the bishop to suspend Gali Arulraj from all priestly ministry, Bishop Prakasam says, “I have full respect to the law of the Church. I only wish to go by the spirit of the law rather than by the letter of it.”
Contrary to Bishop Prakasam’s suggestion, it is false to suggest that the spirit of the law could be the precise opposite of its letter. It is also disingenuous for him to claim to have “full respect” for the law when he is blatantly disregarding it.
Whereas Bishop Prakasam shows his disdain for canon law, Pope Benedict regards canon law as something to be both understood and appreciated (indeed, loved) because it is necessary for respecting rights – in this instance, the rights of the faithful, not to be ministered to by a priest living a shameful life. Like others in Enable, I find it offensive to have been ‘ministered to’ by Arulraj – attending Holy Mass that he celebrated during the eight years up until 2006 during which time he should already have been suspended. It is offensive that Bishop Prakasam is not preventing Arulraj from continuing to minister to others when he is still living a life that is totally incompatible with the priestly ministry. Where is Bishop Prakasam’s concern and love for those who are the unfortunate recipients of Arulraj’s ‘ministry’? Where is Bishop Prakasam’s concern that the Holy Eucharist should not be celebrated in an unworthy manner by an unworthy minister? Where is Bishop Prakasam’s love and concern for Arulraj that he should prohibit him – for his own good too! – from celebrating the most holy of sacraments while his life is so disordered?
Pope Benedict makes it clear that one cannot violate law by appealing to ‘love’ because law is a condition of love. Addressing seminarians he said:
“You should also learn to understand and – dare I say it – to love canon law, appreciating how necessary it is and valuing its practical applications: a society without law would be a society without rights. Law is the condition of love.” [Letter to seminarians, 18 October 2010]
Whereas Bishop Prakasam suggests he is showing ‘love and mercy’ towards Gali Arulraj, indulging him by refusing to take any action, Pope Benedict makes it clear that when bishops tolerate conduct unworthy of the priestly life it has nothing to do with love:
“The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated.” [Homily to end the Year for Priests, 11 June 2010]
Bishop Prakasam has totally disregarded the many representations I have made to him on behalf of Enable. Will he continue to disregard Pope Benedict’s view too?
April 16, 2012
I have written today to Bishop Moses Prakasam, in response to the general email he wrote on 2 April. My text is reproduced in full, below.
In summary, my reply takes issue with the offensive focus of Bishop Prakasam’s email, which instead of addressing the situation of his priests Gali Arulraj and Vatakili Paulinraj, makes unjustified judgments about, and criticisms of, the motives and attitudes of the correspondents and supporters of Enable he is addressing.
Questioning whether Bishop Prakasam’s words are empty rhetoric or actually have substance, I raise a series of questions, challenging whether it is truly loving and merciful of the bishop not to suspend Arulraj but to let him continue to function as a priest.
In particular, I remind Bishop Prakasam that in May 2007 he had said that he was going to initiate a canonical process to bring a conclusion to the status of Gali Arulraj. I ask him whether he was being untruthful then, or whether something happened after that date to make him change his mind to the extent that he is unwilling now even to suspend Arulraj from priestly ministry.
I look forward to receiving Bishop Prakasam’s answers to the pertinent questions I have asked him.
Reply to Bishop Prakasam’s general email
Dear Bishop Prakasam,
Recognising how busy you would be during Holy Week and Easter I thought it would be better to wait until now before replying to the general email you sent on 2 April.
As you know, since our first meeting in January 2007, days after your installation as Bishop of Nellore, I have written to you countless times not only about the scandal caused by your two priests, Gali Arulraj and Vatakili Paulinraj, but also about the additional concern arising from your refusal to discipline them.
It was therefore with considerable disappointment and dismay that I read your general email. I can hardly believe that, after more than five years of discussions with you – in person and in print – you can fail to grasp how much concern is caused by your inaction. You begin your email saying that it is never your intention to offend anyone. And yet, the central part of your reply is extremely offensive.
The main part of your email is paragraph no. 3, which you break down into six parts. Here you treat shabbily those who have raised a legitimate concern with you. Instead of addressing their complaint you level all manner of criticisms against your correspondents: you present them as being vengeful; you suggest they want to cast out Arulraj as a fugitive and wanderer; that like the elder brother of the prodigal son they are lacking generosity of spirit; moreover, that they are unwilling to pray for Arulraj’s repentance and that they don’t want him to receive forgiveness and mercy; that they are in effect throwing stones at him.
By contrast, you suggest that, unlike all of your correspondents, you are walking the path of love and mercy, forgiveness and hope.
With respect, Bishop Prakasam, what you have written is both offensive and ignorant. I know personally many of the hundreds of supporters of Enable who feel very badly betrayed by your priests as well as by your inaction. I do not know a single person among them who thinks Arulraj is fit to remain a priest. Among the supporters of Enable are some of the most generous, loving, merciful and compassionate people you could hope to meet. To effectively slander them in the way you have done is nothing short of disgraceful, and I invite you to withdraw your ill-considered criticisms.
Of course, I cannot speak for the attitude of mind or spirit of each of your correspondents. But, in fact, I do not need to. What you have been asked to address is not your correspondents’ (or my own) failings or sins but the scandalous actions of the two priests of your diocese, Arulraj and Paulinraj. Not once do you even acknowledge that your correspondents have a legitimate grievance with respect to the actions of your two priests – as well as a legitimate grievance with respect to your allowing Arulraj (in particular) to continue to function as a priest.
It is easy to quote scriptural passages about searching out the lost sheep, and seeking to overcome evil with good, and to speak of love, mercy and forgiveness. And as it is easy to be deceived by empty words (which, as you will know, St Paul warns against – Ephesians 5:6), I trust that you will be willing to demonstrate whether there is any substance in what you say by addressing the following points:
You speak of forgiveness and mercy. Have Arulraj and Paulinraj acknowledged their gross wrongdoing with respect to embezzling in excess of one million pounds, and abusing their positions as priests in order to enrich themselves. You suggest that your correspondents are unwilling to forgive. But have Arulraj and Paulinraj acknowledged their crimes and their sins and sought forgiveness and mercy?
As far as I am aware there has been no indication whatsoever that either priest has acknowledged their wrongdoing and sought forgiveness. Moreover, given the gravity and the public nature of their offences there would be a need for them to make a public demonstration of their contrition, and a willingness to make amends to those they have wronged. This includes donors from Enable and other agencies whose donations were embezzled, as well as the many hundreds of disabled children who suffered serious deprivation as a result of their thieving. Can you please tell me what sign either Arulraj or Paulinraj has given you to indicate contrition and a willingness to make amends? And can you please tell me what sort of action you believe is necessary for them to demonstrate that they sincerely wish to make amends for what they have done?
In the absence of contrition and willingness to make amends, do you really believe that it is fitting for Arulraj and Paulinraj to exercise either a public ministry as parish priest (as is currently the case with Paulinraj) or an ‘unofficial’ ministry (as has been the case with Arulraj since 1997/1998)?
You criticise your correspondents for lacking love and mercy. Given the reality of what is involved in the priestly offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice, and the reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, how loving and merciful is it to ignore the sacrilegious priestly actions of Gali Arulraj, when he has been living a way of life for many years that the Church identifies as being ‘mortal sin’? Is it not, in fact, loving and merciful and fatherly to suspend Arulraj from any priestly ministry for the good of his own soul?
Do you truly believe it is acceptable not only for Gali Arulraj to exercise his priestly faculties ‘unofficially’ now, but that he might even eventually resume an official ministry? If you do not, why have you not even suspended him from ministry now and initiated (if not concluded) the process leading to his dismissal from the priesthood?
If you do believe it is possible for Arulraj to one day resume an official priestly ministry, where is your concern and compassion for the woman regarded as his ‘wife’ and also for the children he has fathered? Has not Arulraj chosen a new way of life which brings responsibilities to provide for his ‘wife’ and children? Given the choices he has freely made, should you not be encouraging and assisting him to live a good and honest ‘lay man’s’ life as a husband and father, rather than perpetuating the scandal of his being a priest with a ‘wife’ and children, who is ‘earning a living’ by embezzling funds intended for charitable purposes?
You say “I shall continue my efforts of going out in search of the lost sheep.” According to your correspondence with me, you have not met Arulraj even once since you became the Bishop of Nellore in January 2007. You told me that he has refused to meet you. Your words about seeking the lost sheep sound to me like empty rhetoric, designed to suggest that, unlike your correspondents, you are concerned about Arulraj’s wellbeing. Perhaps you can give some idea of the efforts you have made in searching out the lost sheep, Arulraj? Perhaps you could also explain why it is not possible to suspend Arulraj from all priestly ministry while also seeking him out as a lost sheep?
I find your last remark about overcoming evil with goodness particularly offensive. In May 2006, when Arulraj realised that Enable was on the verge of discovering his embezzling, he closed down the centres for disabled children. A few months later he gathered together some of the children to give the semblance of caring for them after he received adverse media publicity in India. Your predecessor, Bishop Balaswamy, told me that he sought to overcome evil with goodness, by showing the diocese’s commitment towards helping some of the children adversely affected. Enable entered a commitment with the diocese in November 2006 to fund a small project for which the diocese had responsibility. It was understood that the number of children being supported would be quite small, but Enable undertook to fund it for an initial two year period and then to review the situation. By May 2007, less than four months after your installation as bishop you had unilaterally closed down the project without even discussing it with Enable. Where was your compassion for the children who, having been so badly let down by Arulraj were subsequently ‘dumped’ by the diocese? Why were you so keen to abandon the attempt by Bishop Balaswamy to overcome the evil of Arulraj’s action by the Diocese (with Enable) doing good for at least some of the affected children? Perhaps you could tell me what you did to ensure the wellbeing of those children adversely affected by your decision (though I doubt if you will, given that I understand your answer to this question would be ‘nothing’)?
Bishop Prakasam, I have read your email several times, and I have reflected on it carefully. It clarifies that Gali Arulraj has not been excommunicated and that the matter under discussion is not one that affects only your local church but is of international concern. Other than that, it is bitterly disappointing. How easy it is to use the language of love, forgiveness and mercy – but how bitter it is to hear those words when they are devoid of real substance. It is particularly disappointing to see a Bishop attempt to defend his inaction by suggesting that those criticizing him are really the ones to be censured for their (supposed) lack of mercy, forgiveness and charity. That is a shabby defence and I hope you will withdraw it.
Most of all, I am puzzled as to why you should have said in May 2007 that you were initiating a canonical process to bring about a conclusion to the status of Gali Arulraj – and yet since then you have done absolutely nothing to even suspend him from priestly ministry. Were you being untruthful in what you said in May 2007? Or what happened that you should have changed your mind?
We expect our bishops to be men of honour, who are true to their word, who do not take lightly the gross misconduct of their priests, who are concerned about the dignity of the priesthood and the worthy celebration of the sacraments. It has been a very unfortunate experience for myself and others in Enable to have been so badly deceived and betrayed by two priests of the Diocese of Nellore. That you, as their bishop, should now give them your support, and be so indifferent to making amends, upholding justice, and restoring confidence in the priests of your diocese, would be considered by most reasonable people as beyond belief.
In your email you attempted to explain why, contrary to the requirements of canon law, you insist on letting Gali Arulraj function as a priest. As you have decided to place yourself outside the framework of canon law then your judgments inevitably invite the scrutiny of others, and you have to be willing to answer the legitimate questions that have emerged from your defence of your (in)action. I trust that you will be willing to address the specific questions asked of you in this letter.
I look forward to your reply.
April 26, 2012
Gali Arulraj’s scamming website back online today – he has no shame
The website has been carefully constructed so that everything is in image form, preventing words from being tracked by google or other search engines. Most of the pages are entitled “Untitled Document” so they won’t be picked up on search engines. Does even one legitimate website go to such lengths to ensure that it won’t be traced?!
Obviously, during the past month Arulraj must have been missing out on the funds he had been able to scam while it was up, and he decided it was worth taking the chance of putting it up again.
Yet again, he offensively uses photographs of disabled children who have never even heard of a so-called “New Life Society,” let alone benefited from it – in order to enrich himself.
Yet again, he uses religious imagery: pictures of Jesus Christ and Blessed Theresa of Calcutta are prominently displayed – in order to deceive and steal from charitable Christians, especially those who are Catholics.
And this is done by a priest who flaunts his priestly credentials and insists on being called “Fr Gali Arulraj” when it suits his purposes, but at other times (as with his website) uses the subterfuge of calling himself “Mr. G A Raj.”
All this is made worse by the fact that his bishop, Bishop Moses Prakasam of the Diocese of Nellore, has been fully informed of the situation and continues to do nothing about it.
Gali Arulraj remains a priest of the Diocese of Nellore who has not even been suspended from the priesthood, inspite of embezzling more than a million pounds, and having a ‘wife’ and (at least) two children.
Arulraj has the confidence to do whatever he likes because he knows his bishop will do nothing about it.
Bishop Prakasam, we know that Arulraj has no shame. As the Bishop responsible for your errant priest: have you no shame too?
And it’s down again
Gali Arulraj’s scamming website for the bogus “New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped” went online again last Thursday.
By Saturday morning it was down again. It’s still down.
Blog poll conclusion: Arulraj unfit to be a priest
May 2, 2012
Votes so far: 218
Days left to vote: 224
[Votes on the poll this morning]
It has been brought to my attention that the number of votes on the blog poll has, mysteriously, been reduced at least three times during the past week. The votes saying that Gali Arulraj is unfit to be a priest have gone beyond 230, and then mysteriously been reduced by 10 or 15 votes – and when they have gone beyond 230 again the number has inexplicably been reduced yet again.
This morning I noticed that the ‘yes’ vote had been dropped from last night’s 231 to 217. The ‘no’ vote had dropped from 2 to 1.
I assume that Gali Arulraj was one of those who voted that he is fit to be a priest. Perhaps he was supported by Vatakili Paulinraj (his nephew and fellow priest of the Diocese of Nellore who is also charged with fraud, theft, etc. and awaiting trial)? Or perhaps his ‘wife’ gave him her loyal support? I had thought he might receive at least three votes – not that he is getting any sympathy from me after the dismal amount of support shown for him.
Given the inexplicable problem with the poll, and in order to avoid any accusation that I have unfairly slashed the ‘no’ vote in half, it seems right to bring the poll to an end now.
I should just add that I have no control over the poll itself. It is managed by ‘blogger’ and I cannot increase or decrease any of the votes myself. As only one vote can be registered from each computer the poll cannot count the multiple votes of family members who would all have liked to indicate their objection to Arulraj remaining a priest.
The poll, however, which registered more than 250 ‘yes’ votes, and only 2 ‘no’ votes, reflects the overwhelming opinion that Gali Arulraj is unfit to be a priest.
Of course, I am not calling on Bishop Moses Prakasam of Nellore Diocese to resolve Gali Arulraj’s priestly status in view of the blog poll. The case for immediately suspending Arulraj and then concluding the canonical process for his dismissal from the priestly ministry stands on its own merits – and it is a compelling case.
What I am truly trying to fathom though is this: if it is so obvious to just about everyone else that Gali Arulraj is unfit to be a priest….why is it not obvious to the Bishop of Nellore?
[UPDATE – 9 May 2012: During the past week there have been some fluctuations in the poll figures even though the poll has been closed during that time. The ‘yes’ votes have fluctuated between about 205 and 250. I will keep the poll results up in the right hand column for now, as they give a general idea of how people voted, but I will remove them if the changes are so excessive as to give a distorted impression of the results.]
August 25, 2012
In recent weeks several people have contacted me inquiring whether Bishop Moses Prakasam of the Diocese of Nellore responded to the email I sent him on 16 April in reply to his email of 2 April. More importantly, they have asked whether he has at last taken action against his rogue priests, especially against Gali Arulraj.
In emails to me, dated 22 and 28 April, Bishop Prakasam said that he had not intended to cause offence by his email of 2 April. He said that he was unable to reply to individuals who were writing to him, but wished to correspond directly with me and work on this directly with me. Bishop Prakasam asked me not to publish on this blog his correspondence with me. Although he did not answer the many points I made in my email of 16 April I assumed good will and sincerity on his part, and so (in spite of my previous experience with him) I accepted what he said at face value. Recognising that some things have to be said and done privately I told him I was willing not to publish our correspondence so long as it was clear that progress was being made. The indications I received were that at long last Bishop Prakasam would deal properly with the scandal caused by allowing Arulraj to continue functioning as a priest.
Correspondence between us continued until 26 May, when Bishop Prakasam sent me an email in which he asked me to clarify a preposterous allegation made by Gali Arulraj. He also informed me that Arulraj denies being married or living in concubinage with a woman. The way the email was written it almost seemed as though Arulraj’s denial was enough to settle the matter!
In that email of 26 May, Bishop Prakasam said I could place a few lines from him on the website, reading:
“Gali Arulraj is not in communion with his Bishop and the Diocese of Nellore. None of his appeals for soliciting funds have neither the endorsement of his Bishop nor are part of the mission and works of the Diocese.”
In my reply to Bishop Prakasam, dated 30 May, I said I would not publish his statement immediately because I thought he might wish to revise it. I said to him: “You may choose to revise it for two main reasons: a) it does not provide any new information but repeats what you have said in the past, and b) what it says about Arulraj being “not in communion” is inaccurate and inevitably raises further questions, notably why Arulraj still has not been suspended.”
I also responded to what the Bishop had said about Arulraj’s preposterous allegation, and provided documentation from four separate public sources – one of which includes information given under affidavit – as evidence that Gali Arulraj is publicly regarded as being the husband of Gangada Sujatha and the father of her two children.
I have received no response – not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement – from Bishop Prakasam. Since then there has been silence from him.
The evidence I gave to Bishop Prakasam was sufficient for him to suspend Arulraj immediately from functioning as a priest in any way. More than that, given that Arulraj was denying being married when there was public evidence to the contrary, it required Bishop Prakasam to suspend him from all priestly activities. (See a previous post which gives details of canon law on this.)
Indeed, Bishop Prakasam received sufficient information to suspend Arulraj more than five and a half years ago, and the process to dismiss him from priestly ministry should have been concluded long ago. Instead, he is willing to let this scandalous situation with a priest of his diocese continue.
And the persistent question remains: Why?
It is now three months since Bishop Prakasam’s last email, and it seems clear to me that he has reverted to his policy of inaction. For the coming weeks I will be busy and will be unable to deal with queries about Arulraj. This matter is not, however, forgotten. And it will not be forgotten. It will be resolved.
In the meantime, Bishop Prakasam has a final opportunity to demonstrate whether the emails he sent me in April and May were truly sincere and whether he is genuinely concerned to take action to put an end to the ongoing scandal of Gali Arulraj remaining a priest of the Diocese of Nellore. He could show his sincerity today by issuing a decree that Arulraj is suspended from all priestly ministry. In the absence of concrete action there is only one conclusion to be drawn as to whether the Bishop of Nellore is sincere.
It seems to me that Bishop Prakasam has abused the good will of myself and others in Enable, and is taking us for a ride. There are several reasons why Bishop Prakasam might want to spin out this ‘waiting game’ and they do no credit to him or the Diocese of Nellore. He should know by now that the scandal of Arulraj – and the additional scandal of his own inaction – will be pursued to its fitting conclusion.
Subject: RE: ephesians-511.net
I thought you might want to know that the rogue priest Arulraj has at last been suspended. I only received notice of the suspension earlier in the week, though it apparently happened in September. My understanding is that the bishop was directed to take action ‘from above’. The notice of suspension is on the blog: http://gali-arulraj.blogspot.com.
Not much media coverage so far, but some: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=21351.
I thought you might want to know about this. Obviously, there is a point in appealing for bishops to take action!
God bless, Colin
India: charity welcomes ‘long overdue’ suspension of embezzling priest
A charity supporting disabled children in India has welcomed the “long overdue” suspension of a priest awaiting trial on charges relating to the embezzlement of one million pounds.
Enable (Working in India) supported disabled children in India after responding to an appeal for help in 1995 from a Catholic priest, Gali Arulraj, of the Diocese of Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, in south India. After ten years of support, the charity discovered in 2006 that over that period Arulraj had embezzled about one million pounds from Enable and other agencies.
Enable (Working in India) supported disabled children in India after responding to an appeal for help in 1995 from a Catholic priest, Gali Arulraj, of the Diocese of Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, in south India. In 2007, Arulraj and three accomplices were charged with a range of crimes, including fraud and theft. The case has not yet come to trial.
Enable’s General Secretary, Colin Harte said: “Arulraj received donations from several agencies but covered up the amount he received from each by producing fraudulent accounts. He declared only about half of the income, which was used to benefit disabled children, and pocketed the rest – about a million pounds.”
When Enable discovered Arulraj’s crimes in 2006 and approached the Bishop of Nellore, it was informed that for several years Arulraj had separated himself from his bishop, and that he was living as a married man, with at least two young children. “During the years he had been separated from his bishop,” said Mr. Harte, “Arulraj continued to present himself as a bona fide priest, celebrating Mass, and giving the impression – with the assistance of his nephew, Vatakili Paulinraj, who is also a priest – that he was in good standing with the diocese.”
A few months after Arulraj’s deception was discovered a new bishop, Most Rev. Moses Prakasam, was appointed Bishop of Nellore.
Mr. Harte said: “I met Bishop Prakasam first in January 2007, and it seemed that he was concerned to address the scandal of Arulraj in a proper manner. Yet weeks turned into months and into years while he resolutely did nothing in spite of my repeated and urgent requests. He would not even suspend Arulraj from functioning as a priest in spite of the scandal he had caused and was continuing to cause.
Earlier this year, in March, I discovered that Arulraj was appealing for funds as Director of a new bogus charity, while still presenting himself as a priest. As Bishop Prakasam was doing nothing about it I set up a blog “Gali Arulraj – the Scamming Priest,” to warn others against supporting him.”
The blog also asked why Bishop Prakasam was allowing Arulraj to continue functioning as a Catholic priest.
At length, Bishop Prakasam issued a “Notice of Suspension” dated 10 September 2012 – which has today been circulated – which states that Arulraj was placed under suspension with effect from 6 September 2012. The Notice acknowledges that Arulraj “voluntarily and deliberately” violated various church laws for fifteen years, and notes the “public scandal in the Church” arising from Arulraj’s actions. He is “prohibited from exercising all the acts of the power of Orders, power of governance and exercise of all rights and functions attached to the office of Priesthood.”
Colin Harte said: “The long overdue suspension is very welcome, even though there remain serious questions to be answered about the amount of effort and the length of time it has taken for it to be imposed. It is a cause for concern that it has taken Bishop Prakasam nearly six years to impose this simple, obviously necessary, disciplinary measure. It doesn’t make sense why it should have taken so long.”
October 29, 2012
This morning I received a copy of a public notice, issued by the Bishop of Nellore, Most Rev. Moses Prakasam, to “inform all the clergy, religious and people of God that Rev. Fr. Gali Arulraj was placed under suspension with effect from 06-09-12.”
Whereas a priest is sometimes given a partial suspension for offences that are less grave, it is to be noted that Arulraj’s suspension is total: he is “prohibited from exercising all the acts of the power of Orders, power or governance and exercise of all the rights and functions attached to the office of the Priesthood.” Arulraj “has no faculties and consequently he is not authorised to celebrate Holy Mass, hearing confessions or administration of any other sacraments or any other related ministries of Priesthood.”
There remain serious concerns with regard to the amount of effort and the length of time it has taken to effect this suspension – a suspension which should have been declared many years ago. It is only with this suspension that a canonical process leading to Arulraj’s dismissal from the clerical state – which must surely be the outcome of the process – can now take place. (That his dismissal remains necessary is indicated by the notice of suspension itself, which describes Arulraj respectfully – as a priest – as “Rev. Fr. Gali Arulraj.” It is, however, clear even from the sanitised description of Arulraj’s shameful activities, which date back some 15 years – 15 years! – that he does not merit this respectful title or any of the privileges attached to the clerical state.) While it is to be hoped that the canonical process now advances without unnecessary delays this blog will remain active in case there are further concerns to raise.
For now, though, there is much reason to be grateful for the imposition of the suspension. The scandal of Arulraj living a family life and fraudulently raising funds and then embezzling them from the poorest of the poor, and continuing to function as a Catholic priest, has now been addressed by the Bishop of Nellore’s actions. May Bishop Prakasam now bring the scandal of Arulraj remaining a Catholic priest to its fitting conclusion.
April 25, 2013
Well, yes, the heading is perhaps a little misleading as I have no reason to think that Pope Francis has even heard of Gali Arulraj – though I suppose it might just be possible that he has been one of the readers of this blog from Argentina or Italy…
However, in a book published in 2012, Pope Francis makes it clear that someone like Arulraj cannot remain in the priesthood. Speaking as Cardinal Bergoglio (as he was at that time), he addressed the general situation of a priest who has fathered just one child, not two (as is the more appalling case with Arulraj). He said:
If [a priest] comes and tells me that he got a woman pregnant, I listen. I try to help him have peace and little by little I try to help him realize that the natural law takes priority over his priesthood. So, he has to leave the ministry and should take care of that child, even if he chooses not to marry that woman. For just as that child has the right to have a mother, he has a right to the face of a father. I commit myself to arranging all the paperwork for him in Rome, but he has to leave everything.
For Pope Francis, leaving the priesthood is required as an obvious consequence of fathering a child, even if the priest were otherwise in good standing. How much more so must it be required for a rogue priest like Arulraj who has fathered two children, separated himself from his bishop and diocese for 16 years (the years are constantly increasing), and who has been engaged in the long-term racket of scamming donations and embezzling more than one million pounds that were intended for disabled children (and for which he awaits trial, conviction and imprisonment).
It is now more than seven months since Bishop Prakasam of Nellore issued the long overdue decree of suspension. I understand that he has still not even been in touch with the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, which is the relevant Congregation for arranging for priests to leave the clerical state.
Bishop Prakasam dragged his heels for nearly six years before eventually issuing the decree of suspension that should have been automatically issued. The indications are that those heels are now being firmly dug in once again.
With Pope Francis’s guidance, may we hope that the Congregation for the Clergy will act swiftly to resolve the scandal of Gali Arulraj – a scandal that his own bishop has, for unfathomable reasons, been unwilling to address.
Dear Michael, It’s good to hear from you again.
I had heard that Fr Arul Raj Gali C.S.C.* was a participant at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He has the misfortune of bearing the same name as the rogue priest from Andhra Pradesh, but the good fortune of being an entirely different person. *national director of the “Holy Cross Family Ministries in India”
The rogue priest was at long last suspended from the priesthood. (See http://gali-arulraj.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/official-gali-arulraj-now-suspended-as.html). I had been on and on and on at the bishop of Nellore to suspend him for many years, and he acted only after the Nuncio got involved. I suspect that it will be some years before Arulraj is dismissed from the clerical state, as the bishop seems unwilling to pursue this further.
I hope all is well for you. Best wishes, Colin
FROM MY FILES
I must have saved the information that follows, several years ago. The links that I have recorded:
are not opening.
However, I reproduce below the information that is in my files (all colour emphases theirs – I think!):
For the background to this ongoing problem, please read the entry below.
Serious Problem with Fr. Gali Arulraj (Update of 30 June 2006).
Fr. Gali Arulraj
— a warrant has been issued for his arrest
Since 1995, Enable has worked in partnership with the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD), a charitable organisation formed by Fr. Gali Arulraj
in 1988. Since its inception he has been its President and Director.
On 31 May 2006, Enable asked Fr Arulraj to resign from his positions within the DNSSD for two reasons. The first was that he refused to allow Enable (which provides nearly 99% of the funds of the DNSSD) to arrange for an independent audit of the DNSSD accounts, when there were indications of serious irregularities suggesting a considerable misappropriation of funds. The second was his decision to close the centres from the beginning of the new academic year (12 June), thereby abandoning the children Enable had undertaken to support. Fr Arulraj’s nephew, Fr V. Paulinraj was the Secretary and Treasurer of the DNSSD from 1995 until he resigned unexpectedly on 25 May 2006.
Fr V Paulinraj
— a warrant has also been issued for his arrest
On 10 June, Enable’s General Secretary, Colin Harte, made an emergency visit to India, staying in Ongole from 14-20
June. While he was there he visited the “Enable Centre for Disabled Children” (opened in January 2006), and found it to be completely locked up. He learned that children arriving for the beginning of the academic year had been turned away. At the “Alison Davis Home for Disabled Children” (named after Enable’s Chair, Alison Davis), there were a few girls, mainly children of the staff.
Since April 2006, Enable has discovered that Fathers Arulraj and Paulinraj have deceived it, and that they have told it outright lies. One lie was that, as Catholic priests, they had been engaged in work to benefit disabled children with the permission of their bishop. On 5 June, their bishop, Most Rev. Dr P. C. Balaswamy of the Diocese of Nellore informed Enable that the priests had been working contrary to his express directives, and that they had neglected the work he had assigned to them. After Colin Harte returned from India, Enable was contacted by concerned sponsors informing them that they had received a letter from Fr Arulraj asking for donations to be sent directly to him. In his letter, which was dated 11 June, Fr Arulraj said that the centres were open and functioning. Colin Harte, who visited the centres with senior priests from the Diocese of Nellore during the week after Fr Arulraj wrote his letter, was able to confirm that this was untrue.
Pic: The Enable Centre, Ongole –Not a child in sight [15 June 2006]
Pic: Looking after the locked-up Centre: No one at the Enable Centre apart from two watchmen [15 June 2006]
Pic: Bishop P. C. Balaswamy, pictured with Colin Harte, has given his full support to Enable [20 June 2006]
During Colin Harte’s visit to India, many local people, appalled by the abandonment of the disabled children by Fr Arulraj, came forward to assist Enable.
In addition to the considerable support given by Bishop Balaswamy and senior priests working on his behalf, particular assistance has been given by Mr G Jayaramaiah, the Secretary of an Ongole-based charitable organisation, Sree Madhava Vidya Peetham. With further evidence emerging, which points to considerable misappropriation of funds by Fathers Arulraj and Paulinraj, the police began an investigation. The two priests have absconded in order to avoid questioning—an action that reinforces suspicions about their actions—and the Ongole police have issued warrants for their arrest.
The police are investigating the priests’ misappropriation of funds that have been provided by Enable. The Indian authorities, like Enable’s donors from the UK, regard such misappropriation as particularly despicable because it is not simply theft from a donor organisation but an act of theft from disabled children themselves.
Enable’s concern for the children
Enable’s principal concern is for the children who have been abandoned by Fr Arulraj while the centres remain locked up and empty. Enable is appealing to the Indian authorities to allow us to appoint responsible people to take charge of the centres so that they can be used for the purpose they were constructed—caring for disabled children. The needs of the children are great and it is scandalous that the children have been abandoned while the properties remain locked up and empty.
It is inconceivable that any organization will now fund Fr. Arulraj and the DNSSD. Certainly, the DNSSD can no longer afford to run the institutions. If Fr. Arulraj has an ounce of decency left in him, let him hand over the buildings—which were constructed with Enable’s funds—to Enable without any delay. With the support of Bishop Balaswamy and other decent people, Enable will be able to continue to provide the care and support that it has given for many years.
[January 2006] Enable’s founders, Alison Davis and Colin Harte with some of the residents of the Enable Centre. Enable is working hard to ensure that these and the other children abandoned by Fr Arulraj receive the care they need.
Enable was set up to support disabled children in South India.
Pictured (in January 2006) with Enable’s co-founder Alison Davis are four disabled college students who were previously residents at our centres for several years. These young adults now have the prospect of a bright future.
Enabling disabled children in India
During a visit to India in 1995 Alison Davis and Colin Harte visited a centre built to care for 35 disabled children in the town of Kanigiri, Andhra Pradesh State, South India, which had just been opened by the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD) whose Director was a priest, Fr. Gali Arulraj.
Arulraj expressed his concern that the projects might have to stop soon due to a shortage of funds. Recognizing the children’s needs, Alison Davis and Colin Harte set up a registered charity in the UK, now called Enable (Working in India). Being a wheelchair user herself, Alison Davis—lovingly known as “Mummy Alison” by all the Indian children—was particularly aware of the many improvements that could be brought to the children’s lives.
A partnership between Enable and DNSSD
Between 1995 and 2006, Enable worked in partnership with the DNSSD. Enable not only provided funding for the DNSSD, but took an active role in the planning, developing, and managing of the projects.
With Enable’s support, the Kanigiri centre doubled in size, so that it provided residential facilities for about 80 children. The children received medical and surgical treatment, good care and the chance to go to school.
Enable founded two large centres in Ongole
In January 2001 we opened a new home for disabled girls in the larger town of Ongole, about 50 miles from Kanigiri. This was called the “Alison Davis Home for Disabled Children,” named after Enable’s co-founder. As the plaque unveiled at its opening showed, the centre was an Enable foundation, managed by the DNSSD with Fr. Arulraj as the Director.
We emphasise the origins of the Centres, because Arulraj is now claiming that they belong to his Society (if not to himself!). They were founded by Enable for the benefit of the children, not for Arulraj’s personal benefit. Enable is attempting legitimately to ensure that the properties in Kanigiri and Ongole are returned to our control so that they can be used, with Enable’s ongoing funding and active involvement, for the purpose for which they were built.
Broadening projects for disabled and blind children
The centres enabled us to care for an increasing number of physically disabled children. A project at the centres for blind children—at which they receive residential schooling—was started in 2002. Also in 2002, Enable/DNSSD started an ‘outreach programme’ for hundreds of disabled children in their villages. Enable also provided DNSSD with the funds to provide Scholarships for disabled students at college and university.
Sadly, all of these projects have been put in jeopardy since May 2006, when Gali Arulraj informed Enable that he was closing down the institutions and breaking off his relationship with Enable, rather than accede to our request for an independent audit of the DNSSD’s accounts.
Enable was founded to enable disabled children and young adults to live with respect and dignity. Gali Arulraj and his collaborators in DNSSD have betrayed not only Enable, but more importantly the beneficiaries of our work. We are committed to ensure that justice is achieved for the children and will continue to pursue matters with the Indian authorities until we obtain our objectives.
In order to deflect attention from his own crimes, Arulraj alleged that Enable’s officials had themselves misappropriated funds. His accusation was all the more despicable because he well knows that Enable has always sent all donations in their entirety to India. Administration costs in the UK, as well as visits to India to monitor projects, have always been paid for by Enable’s trustees or (occasionally) from other donations made specifically for these purposes.
Enable has referred its problems with Arulraj and the DNSSD to the UK Charity Commission. The Commission is periodically updated on Enable’s efforts to ensure that the centres in India are restored to our control and has expressed an unqualified satisfaction with the actions of Enable’s trustees.
© Enable (Working In India) 2007 Contact the Webmaster
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