Police registered a case against Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal George Alencherry and three others on a complaint alleging irregularities in land deals in the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.
The FIR was registered nearly a week after the Kerala High Court ordered the police to do so against the cardinal, priests Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakkumpadan, and middleman Saju Varghese on a petition filed by Shine Varghese from Cherthala.
Shine had moved the high court, saying that the Ernakulam Central Police had not registered an FIR on his complaint against the cardinal and others over the land deals.
They were named in the complaint alleging criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and cheating in sale of over three acres of land, worth crores of rupees, belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.
Cardinal Alencherry, who is also the major archbishop of the archdiocese, is the first accused in the case, police said.
They have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sections 120b (criminal conspiracy), 405 and 406 (criminal breach of trust),and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), police said.
Police have registered the FIR after a section of the Syro-Malabar Church faithful questioned the delay in filing it and threatened to move the Kerala High Court on the matter.