The Bombay high court on Monday asked the Cuffe Parade police to complete within six weeks its probe into the alleged transfer of development rights of properties of Afghan Church. The Afghan Church is one of the prominent churches belonging to the Church of North India (CNI). Member of the community, Prem Masih and some other Bishops of CNI were accused in a police complaint of entering into development rights when they are not authorised to do so.
A division bench of justices NH Patil and Anuja Prabhudessai gave the directions while disposing off the petition filed by Masih seeking quashing of the charges levelled against them.
Masih had moved the court seeking to quash the charged levelled against him and others in 2008, by Cyril Dara, a member of the community. Dara had alleged that despite not having any rights, Masih and others had entered into an agreement to give away the church land.
“The court gave us the order and an investigation will be carried. It will be over within the deadline given by the court. And accordingly we will file a charge sheet,” said Abusaheb Tamboli, investigating officer at the Cuffe Parade police station.
As per the FIR lodged by Dara, the church property could not be leased by the above mentioned people because it is situated on defence land. Masih and others, however, contradicted the argument put forward by Dara. In their petition, they stated to the court that the permissions were taken from the Charity Commissioner's office for the development and that the collector office had sided with their claim that the church land did not belong to defence.
The court has however, asked the police to enquire and get back to them with the investigation. Masih refused to answer calls.