Bhopal: A local court has ordered registration of a case against the Archbishop of Bhopal and two others for allegedly conspiring to make a priest and former spokesperson of the local church mentally unsound by administering drugs. Judicial Magistrate First Class Alok Mishra ordered the filing of a case against Archbishop Father Leo Cornelio and the other two under IPC Sections 328 (causing hurt by means of poison etc with intent to commit an offence) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and has asked them to appear on March 1.
The order was given on February 7, a copy of which was received by the complainant on February 14. Father Cornelio, however, said that the allegations levelled by Anand Muttangal, an ex-Public Relation Officer (PRO) for the archdiocese, were "baseless".
"The allegations were totally baseless. Muttangal is levelling these charges as he was removed from the post of PRO following complaints of gross irregularities which were not expected from a priest like him," he said. Muttangal, in his complaint, alleged the Archbishop along with two others, his associate Mathew VC and Father Johnney PJ, current spokesman of the Archdiocese, conspired to eliminate him when he raised the issue of financial irregularities in the Archdiocese of Bhopal Society.
Cornelio is president of the Society. Muttangal claimed they had procured drugs from a psychiatrist and asked an associate, Phillip K P, to administer them to him (Muttangal) to turn him insane. However, Phillip disclosed the conspiracy to Muttangal following which he approached the police.
But when his complaint was not entertained there, he moved the court. Asked about the issue of procuring drugs, Cornelio said he had received complaints against Muttangal regarding his behavioural problems in dealing with others, indulging in activities not expected from a priest and entering into a property deal under a fake name.
"Since, we were concerned about his activities and found he was having behavioural problems, like threatening people around him, we consulted a leading psychiatrist in the city to help him overcome these problems," Cornelio claimed. On the allegations of misappropriation of funds from the Society, the Archbishop said, "we have committees which deal with finance, property and construction issues in a transparent manner. We have a dedicated finance officer and our papers are in order. Anybody can come and see them."
Muttangal had, after his removal from the PRO post, filed a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, but it was dismissed as there was no merit in his allegations, Cornelio said.