The former moderator of the Church of North India, P.C. Singh, has been remanded in seven-day custody by a court in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Singh was arrested by the Federal Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on 12 April 2023 for allegedly engaging in money laundering activities.
Singh was the bishop of Jabalpur and also held the position of moderator or presiding bishop of the Indian church. He was arrested by the ED agents following an investigation into the financial dealings of the church.
According to sources, Singh is alleged to have used his position to embezzle funds meant for church activities and charitable work. The ED has also accused him of funneling the funds into his personal accounts and using them for personal gain. The former bishop was arrested by the state police last year at Nagpur Airport, Maharashtra. This was after he arrived from a vacation after the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.
Accusations from sources, Bishop Singh is said to have redirected tuition fees intended for diocesan schools between 2004-2005 and 2011-2012 to his personal bank account. Additionally, it is claimed that Bishop Singh was involved in an illegal transaction of church-owned land alongside the former Bishop of Lucknow, the Rt. Rev. Peter Baldev, who was a fugitive for four months before his arrest in July.
Bishop Singh and his associate, BS Solanki, are facing a total of 84 criminal charges, which reportedly violate various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document or electronic record), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
Following his arrest, Singh was produced before a court in Madhya Pradesh, where the ED requested that he be remanded in custody for seven days so that he could be questioned further. The court granted the request and ordered Singh to be placed in custody until further notice.
The case against Singh is likely to be closely watched by the Indian public and could have wider implications for the church and its leadership. It is also likely to raise questions about the role of religious institutions in Indian society and the need for greater transparency and accountability in their financial affairs.