The Income Tax department on Thursday conducted raids at the residence and offices of evangelist KP Yohannan. The raids were carried out at various locations in Kerala’s Kottayam and Pathanamthitta over alleged tax evasion. Yohannan is the founder and director of Gospel for Asia and the metropolitan bishop of Believers Church, which is actively engaged in proselytization in various parts of the country.
According to the latest reports, the officials have confiscated Rs 13.5 crore and also seized a few phones. Banned currency worth Rs2 crores were also seized in the raids. The raids were initiated on the tip-offs by trusted sources regarding tax evasion and violations of norms under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act and (FCRA) Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). by the Church.
Officials said simultaneous raids were being carried out at the residences and offices of several persons associated with the Church in Kerala as well as outside the state. The Income Tax team is also searching the medical college hospital run by the institution at Thiruvalla.
In 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs had barred the Believers Church and three other associated NGOs from accepting foreign funds. The IT department has found that the church has received more than Rs 6000 crores in foreign funds in the last five years, violating FCRA norms.
The Believers’ Church runs a medial college and several educational institutions in Kerala. It has also owns an estate, the Cheruvally estate in Pathanamthitta district, near Sabarimala. The LDF Government has recently identified the estate as the location for the controversial Sabarimala Airport. (Last updated on 11/08/2020)