NRI turns up to claim dead bishop’s land

Thursday, December 23, 2010

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM - Even as investigations are underway to find out how a man impersonated a deceased cleric to fraudulently sell his land on the outskirts of the city, an NRI came forward Thursday to say he was the real owner of the land.

The issue first surfaced early this month, when it was discovered that a man, bearing the same name as a late bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church, impersonated the cleric to fraudulently sell his land.

Bishop Gheevargheese Mar Dioscorous, head of the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam diocese, had died in 1999 but his signature appeared on a land sale document at the sub-registrar’s office in March this year.

The issue took another twist Thursday as a non-resident Indian (NRI) K.P. Vijayakumar, currently working in Botswana, held a press conference and presented documents to stake his claim to the land.

“I purchased around 30 cents of land in July 2006 from a person called P.Y. Thomas, who purchased this land from Bishop Gheevargheese Mar Dioscorous in 1983.

“The bishop had purchased this land from Paul Thomas in 1980. I have all the original documents to prove this,” said Vijayakumar.

He said that he came to know about a re-survey done on his property in January this year when he was here on leave from Botswana.

“I was surprised to find out that following that re-survey, the land was transferred to the name of the bishop who passed away in 1999. The office records also show that on March 31st this year, a man impersonating the late bishop sold this land to a lady,” said Vijayakumar.

Following a series of reports earlier this month, Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregorious, the present head of the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam diocese, filed a police complaint.

“So far, I am happy with the progress in the investigation and I have been told by the police that they have zeroed in on the impersonator. Even though I am returning to Botswana shortly, if needed, I will return again to present my case,” added Vijayakumar.

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