Thursday, 29 March 2012

Arulraj's scamming New Life Society website down

The scamming website has been down since 28 March
- not even its logo remains

Well, would you believe it again?!  It took a little longer, but after last week's removal of the Linked-In profile for "Fr Gali Arulraj" we now have the removal of the website of his scamming  "New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped."

The website has been down for more than 24 hours, which suggests that there is not merely a temporary problem with it. If you go to the website you get a  HTTP 403 Forbidden notice, which indicates that access to the website is being deliberately denied by the server. It is too early to say whether the website might be made active again.

Given that Arulraj went to the trouble and expense of setting up the website as part of his scam to make money, its removal is very welcome.  In itself it has justified the presence of this blog.

The continued presence of this blog is also more than justified as a warning to anyone who is a potential victim of a scam by "Fr Gali Arulraj" or "Mr G.A. Raj" working for the "Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development", the "New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped", or (another of his made-up charity names) the  "Home for the Orphans and Disabled Children."

The blog will also stay in order to draw attention to any new scams that come to my notice.

Of course, with the exposure that  "Mr G.A. Raj" was in fact Arulraj, he may have wanted his scamming New Life Society website removed as it was further evidence of his ongoing criminal activities. If there are any police officers, tax officials, Delhi Home Ministry officials, NGO Registration officials, FCRA investigators, or anybody else who needs evidence of the scamming website then they can still get that evidence.  I made copies of everything that was on the website and will be happy to make them available.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

"Father" Arulraj no more?

The Linked-In profile of "Fr Gali Arulraj" that is no more
 - removed today (22 March 2012)
Well, would you believe it?! This blog had its first viewers from India this morning, and a couple of hours later Arulraj has removed the Linked-In profile that he set up less than two months ago, in which he presented himself -- as a priest - as "Fr Gali Arulraj, Director of the New Life Society for the poor and handicapped."

(If you google the name "Gali Arulraj" the first thing that comes up still is a reference to the Linked-In profile. Although the link to the profile itself no longer works, you can still see Google's cached image of 6 March 2012.).

Dare we hope that Arulraj's conscience has been awakened and that he realises how greatly he insults the Catholic priesthood by presenting himself as a priest? 

Dare we hope that we are closer to the day when Arulraj is no longer able to present himself as a priest?

Let's see if the website of  his (scamming) "New Life Society" will be removed next.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bishop Prakasam: Let Arulraj be Mr G.A. Raj

On his "New Life Society" website he wishes to be known as "Mr G.A. Raj"
Arulraj's preference for lay status should be facilitated as soon as possible

I started this blog the day after Arulraj's scamming website for "The New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped" was brought to my attention. What I have written here gives anyone who is making an internet search connected with this "New Life Society" enough information to avoid being scammed, so this blog has served its primary purpose.

Maybe Arulraj will always be a scammer - that's up to him.  Nobody is born a scammer.  We choose whether we want to live honestly or whether we want to cheat others.  I wish Arulraj would choose a better life.  But it's up to him.

What is truly offensive, though, to any Catholic - and indeed to any decent human being - is to have someone scamming who is a priest.

And so the question posted in the sub-heading of the blog must be addressed:

How is it possible for a man to have a 'wife' and (at least) two children, to separate himself from his bishop for nearly 15 years, to be facing criminal charges for fraud, theft and other serious crimes, and even then to continue his scamming - and yet remain a Catholic priest?

With Arulraj's renewed scamming activities - online for all to see - his bishop must now surely address his status as a priest.  And if he does not, all Catholics are entitled to ask: why is he not doing something about Arulraj?

There is much more that could be said about Arulraj.  Perhaps one day I will post on this blog more evidence of his scamming activities. (I have enough evidence to keep me busy for a long time.) However, I would prefer not to. What has been posted is bad enough.  This blog was set up out of a sense of obligation to fellow Catholics and others who deserve better than to be scammed by a priest of the Diocese of Nellore who should have been dismissed from the clerical state long ago. I get no joy from posting what I have, and have no wish to post any more.  Whether or not more is posted depends on whether Arulraj continues to scam, and especially whether he continues to scam as a priest.  

This blog has highlighted the case of Arulraj, not that of Paulinraj, because I am not aware that Paulinraj is continuing to scam. Moreover, the case of Paulinraj is different from that of Arulraj.  Perhaps he might have been an honest and faithful priest if he hadn't been led astray by his uncle. Maybe there is still a chance that he could function as a priest. Unlike Arulraj, he at least does not  have (as far as I know - though not much would surprise me nowadays) responsibilities for a wife and children that are incompatible with continuing to function as a priest. Nevertheless he has been active systematically over many years in committing serious crimes that bring disgrace to him and dishonour to the priesthood. (And there is more to his crimes than has so far been publicly revealed.)  It is not sufficient for Bishop Prakasam to 'resolve' the matter by moving Paulinraj to a different part of the diocese (as parish priest with not only a care of souls but also with financial responsibilities) without any reparation for the serious harm that he has done.  Until there is an acknowledgement from Paulinraj of his serious wrongdoing, and a demonstration that he is truly sorry for what he is done and sincerely willing to make amends, how can he have any credibility functioning as a priest?

There are also aspects of Bishop Prakasam's handling of his two priests that I haven't raised here, that give me cause for concern. For now, I prefer not to raise them. I hope that when Bishop Prakasam reads this blog he may recognise the need for him to reconsider his policy of inaction.  Bishop Prakasam's inaction raises too many questions, as I informed him in an email two years ago (24 March 2010):

"As you acknowledge, I do understand the situation in India, but this in no way excuses your failure to discipline your priests. In particular, the fact that Arulraj (living with a woman who is publicly regarded as his 'wife', and with whom he has two children) has not yet been dismissed from the clerical state -- and, almost unimaginably, has not even been suspended from priestly ministry as is required by Canon Law* -- is nothing short of scandalous. To Catholics here, your failure to take action means you are giving your support and protection to your priests.  I am asked: Is the Bishop of Nellore a weak Bishop? Is he afraid to take action? Has he been intimidated by Arulraj and Paulinraj into not taking action? Have these priests got some sort of hold over him, so that he is effectively being blackmailed from taking action against them? Has the Bishop made an unworthy and shameful deal with the two priests, allowing them to continue in the priestly ministry if they give to the Diocese the money and properties at their disposal (when any criminal and civil cases against them have been concluded) obtained as a result of embezzling funds? Is the Bishop corrupt like his priests? When asked these questions I can only reply that I do not know the answers to any of them, but that I entirely agree with the questioners in deploring your inaction."
*According to Canon Law if a priest attempts marriage he incurs an automatic - latae sententiae - suspension.  If he is living as though he is married, then the bishop has to impose the suspension.

Can. 1394: 1. [...] a cleric who attempts marriage, even if only civilly, incurs a latae sententiae suspension. If, after warning, he has not reformed and continues to give scandal, he can be progressively punished by deprivations, or even by dismissal from the clerical state.

Can. 1395: 1. Apart from the case mentioned in can. 1394, a cleric living in concubinage, and a cleric who continues in some other external sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue which causes scandal, is to be punished with a suspension. To this, other penalties can progressively be added if after a warning he persists in the offence, until eventually he can be dismissed from the clerical state.
As though it were a defence of his inaction, Bishop Prakasam informed me, by email, as recently as 12 February 2012: "Fr. Arulraj denies of having contacted [sic] any Civil Marriage."

But in that case, Canon Law is crystal clear.  If there is doubt as to whether Arulraj has formally married, then given that he is known to be living as though he is married (with a 'wife' and children) then he "is to be punished with a suspension."  And the person who is to impose the suspension is the bishop.

Far from there being uncertainty as to how Bishop Prakasam should act, Canon Law is clear.  And on this matter, Canon Law reflects the opinion of just about every decent person who is surely appalled that someone like Arulraj - who has brought so much dishonour to the Catholic priesthood - could possibly remain a priest and be honoured with the title (still given to him by Bishop Prakasam in his February 2012 email) of "Fr" Arulraj. 

Not only should Arulraj have been suspended many years ago, but also his dismissal from the priesthood is long overdue. And the fact that, after all he has done, he continues to have the protection of the Bishop of Nellore inevitably raises the question: why?

When I met Bishop Prakasam in January 2007 I had the impression that he was a good and honest bishop. Of course, that doesn't count for a lot - for ten years I had believed that Arulraj and Paulinraj were good priests seeking to serve the poorest among whom they were working.  Two years ago I did not know the answers to the questions I raised in the email, reproduced above, to Bishop Prakasam.  I still do not know the answer to any of them.

For the sake of ensuring there is credibility not only in the presbyterate of the Diocese of Nellore, but also in the episcopate, I sincerely ask Bishop Prakasam: please resolve the scandal of "Father" Gali Arulraj now.

When a bishop refuses to take action...

Bishop Moses Prakasam of Nellore

When I first met Bishop Prakasam in January 2007, a few days after his installation as Bishop of Nellore, I told him about a case that was just then being reported concerning a priest in America, Fr Rodney Rodis. It had  come to light that the priest had embezzled six hundred thousand dollars (about £400,000) from parish funds to buy a property and fund a lifestyle for himself and (would you have guessed?) his 'wife' and children. 

Immediately Rodis' priestly faculties were suspended. He was subsequently convicted of embezzlement and is now serving an 18-year prison sentence. He is described in reports now as an ex-priest.

While there are certain similarities between the cases of Rodis and Arulraj, the latter case is much worse, in view of the scale of Arulraj's embezzlement (not only in terms of the amount itself, but the fact that one million pounds in India has a value far greater than it has in the US or UK), and the fact that his embezzlement was from funds donated to benefit the poorest of the poor. For heaven's sake: how much lower can you get than stealing money given to benefit disabled children who are in the most desperate need?  It also has very serious implications for the confidence that Catholics in wealthier countries can have when responding to appeals for donations from priests and religious in developing countries.

A major difference, however, is that Arulraj is still a priest who can legitimately call himself "Fr Gali Arulraj." He is not impeded from presenting himself as a priest and celebrating Mass.  And there is no indication that this state of affairs will ever change.

Bishop Prakasam has suggested that he cannot do anything until the matter is resolved in the criminal court. Apart from this being untrue in itself (as the Rodis case demonstrated), objections to Arulraj's (and Paulinraj's) behaviour go much further than the issue of their embezzlement of money.

As part of a longer email, dated 8 April 2010, to Bishop Prakasam I summarised the case against Arulraj and Paulinraj.

"In any case, it is false to suggest that the resolution of criminal charges is necessary before you can take action against your two priests.  The criminal charges against Arulraj and Paulinraj refer to such matters as their embezzlement of charitable funds, criminal conspiracy and fraud.  These charges are incidental to action required of you with respect to Arulraj, and are only partly relevant to action required of you with respect to Paulinraj.
[The Case Against Arulraj]
With respect to Arulraj, the action canonically requested (and required) of you does not depend on the resolution of the criminal case, because the grounds for action are not related to those criminal charges.  Rather, they are connected to such things as:  (i) his being publicly regarded as married, whether or not he is formally married, (ii) his having two children, for whom he has an ongoing responsibility,  with the woman who is understood to be his wife, (iii) his having separated himself from the authority of and obedience owed to the Bishop of Nellore since 1997/1998 (iii)  the unrepented violation of his sacred oaths of celibacy and obedience since 1997/1998, (iv) his simulation of working in Ongole with the permission of his bishop, as indicated by his having a chapel with the reserved Blessed Sacrament (which is not allowed without the bishop's approval), (v) his explicit declaration that the bishop had given him permission to work for his charitable organisation, in order that he could deceptively obtain funds from Catholics overseas, (vi)  his functioning as a priest since 1997/1998, especially his saying Holy Mass (publicly), which is a matter of scandal in view of the revelation that he had separated himself from his bishop and was living a family life incompatible with that of the priesthood, (vii) his malicious and untruthful allegations made publicly in print about your predecessor, Bishop Balaswamy, which are a cause of scandal.
[The Case Against Paulinraj]
With respect to Paulinraj, there are serious complaints unrelated to the criminal case in view of (i) his support for Arulraj's activities from 1997/1998, knowing that Arulraj was a priest who had separated himself from his bishop, (ii) his collaboration in Arulraj's deception that he was a priest in good standing with the diocese. Paulinraj took part in numerous conversations over the years in which I expressed concerns about the future running of the DNSSD projects if Bishop Balaswamy or his successor should transfer Arulraj to other diocesan duties.  Paulinraj was complicit in Arulraj's deception to the extent of telling me me untruthfully that  Bishop Balaswamy had visited the DNSSD projects in Ongole and that he had been impressed with them (iii)  his collaboration with Arulraj's attempt to raise money from Catholics overseas, who would not have supported him had they known he was not a priest in good standing, (iv) his collaboration with Arulraj even though he knew he had a 'wife' and children,  (v) his collaboration in the scandal of concelebrating Holy Mass with Arulraj during the period 1997/1998 - 2006, even though he knew that Arulraj had separated himself from the Bishop and was living a scandalous personal life, (vi) his own involvement with DNSSD, serving as Secretary/Treasurer, even though the Bishop had prohibited priests from holding positions of responsibility in non-diocesan charities.

Associated with the criminal case there are additional complaints with respect to Paulinraj, relating to his embezzlement of funds, criminal conspiracy, deception, fraud, etc.  The scandal, for example, of his fraudulently appealing for funds after the December 2004 tsunami would be, in itself, serious grounds for taking action against him."
In fact, Enable had made clear from the beginning of our discussions with Bishop Prakasam (as we had previously with Bishop Balaswamy) that our main concern was for the wellbeing of the disabled children we had been supporting.  We even said we would not pursue a criminal case against Arulraj and Paulinraj if only they would stand aside and enable us to continue, with the assistance of honest people in the area, to care for the children.  In my email to Bishop Prakasam I highlighted the fact that their actions were additionally reprehensible on account of their lack of concern for the wellbeing of children for whom they had assumed a responsibility:
[Using vulnerable children for financial gain and then abandoning them]
"I should just add that I have not given, above, an exhaustive list of complaints against either Arulraj or Paulinraj.  In particular, emphasis must be put on  the way that they used  hundreds of  vulnerable and disabled children for personal financial gain.  They accepted a responsbility for these children, but abandoned most of them when their misdeeds came to light. Even aside from the fact that they stole large sums of money that had been donated to help these children (not to enrich greedy priests), their behaviour after their criminal activities came to light is particularly worthy of censure.  Enable asked the two priests (particularly Paulinraj) to behave decently so that the children would not be adversely affected. However,  they refused to withdraw from the projects so that Enable could continue, with the assistance of other honest people, to provide care for the children.  In 2006 (before the problem with the priests/DNSSD emerged), Enable was providing funding for DNSSD to care for hundreds of disabled children -- for residential care, for surgical operations, for education, for scholarships, etc.  By 2007, having abandoned the vast majority of the children -- especially those with more serious disabilities, which required more attention --DNSSD had responsibility for less than 100 children, and we informed you of the first-hand evidence we had of the children receiving physical beatings as well as emotional abuse.  Hundreds of children were simply abandoned by Arulraj and Paulinraj, and the remaining few have not received adequate care.  Even if your two priests had done nothing else that was wrong, they must surely be answerable for the shameful abandonment of the children in their care, and the neglect of the remaining few (who were brought back to the institutions by Arulraj more to give the semblance of care than for the purpose of providing any real care).  The way in which the two priests used the disabled children as a business for financial gain, and subsequently abandoned or neglected them when their criminal activity was detected,  is surely among those sins listed as crying to heaven for vengeance."
To this email, like others before and after, the response was the same: nothing was done.


Bishop Prakasam's response to outragious allegations about his predecessor

During the years 2006 - 2009 Enable's UK supporters received a stream of letters from India.  Some were sent in Arulraj's name, or in the names of children or college students, seeking money.  It was obvious to all that they were written by Arulraj (not least because the Telugu-speaking children would not be able to understand let alone compose a letter written in English).  In an email, dated 9 May 2008, I informed Bishop Prakasam about a letter that made malicious allegations about his predecessor, Bishop Balaswamy.
"Even in the past week Enable's supporters have been receiving a letter, dated 24 April 2008, which was sent in the name of three students that we were supporting, but obviously it has been written and mailed by Arulraj and Paulinraj.   In addition to malicious and baseless allegations about me, the letter alleges that Enable sent £120,000 (one hundred and twenty thousand pounds) to Bishop Balaswamy for him to bribe Indian officials to take action against Arulraj.  The letter says that Bishop Balaswamy misused the whole amount and that when this was discovered he was removed from office and you were appointed in his place.  It is disgraceful that your two priests should be behind such a letter making such malicious lies about Bishop Balaswamy. They have confidence to do these things, because they expect that, as in the past, you will take no action against them.  
I ask you, please, to take heed of the grave scandal that this sort of letter is causing to our supporters, among whom are both Catholics and non-Catholics. And I ask you, please, to take heed of the grave scandal caused by your unwillingness to take proper disciplinary measures as called for by your episcopal office."
To this email, like others before and after, the response was the same: nothing was done.

Am I being so unreasonable in asking: why is the Bishop of Nellore doing nothing about this?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Why is Gali Arulraj still a priest?!

LinkedIn profile of "Fr Gali Arulraj" - screenshot of 17 March 2012

If Gali Arulraj were an 'ordinary  Joe' his actions, while contemptible, would not cause the same degree of consternation.  It is precisely because he is a priest that his behaviour has been truly shocking. Apart from the recent subterfuge of calling himself  "Mr G.A. Raj," Arulraj has insisted on using the title of "Fr Gali Arulraj" and introducing himself as a Catholic priest. It is as a Catholic priest that he has sent malicious letters (about me and others in Enable) to just about anyone he can think of including Archbishop Vincent Nichols (of Westminster) and my own bishop, Bishop Christopher Budd (of Plymouth Diocese). It is still how he presents himself on the LinkedIn profile set up in February 2012.  And when his case comes to trial, he and Paulinraj will be tried (and, if justice is served, convicted) as Catholic priests. 

Archbishop Vincent Nichols noted Arulraj's "act of considerable
deceit which surely has grave consequences."
The scandal of Arulraj - and also of Paulinraj - is compounded by the fact that neither of them has incurred so much as a suspension of their priestly faculties or, in fact, any disciplinary penalty from their bishop.

After discussions with informed people who were able to enlighten him about the situation with Arulraj, Archbishop Nichols wrote a letter, dated 18 October 2007, to Arulraj's bishop, Bishop Moses Doraboina Prakasam.  He asked for a clarification of the status of Arulraj, and said:
"I undestand from very reliable sources in this country that the accusations [against officials in Enable] that Fr Arulraj makes in his letter are not only unfounded but they are also part of an aggressive defence that he is mounting to defend himself against charges of fraud and theft.
I am of the impression that he has written to many of the Bishops of England and Wales. To have done so is an act of considerable deceit which surely has grave consequences."
Archbishop Nichols rightly pointed out to Arulraj's bishop that even for Arulraj to write a letter to bishops in England and Wales containing unfounded allegations was "an act of considerable deceit which surely has grave consequences."  Yet, for this act Arulraj suffered no consequences from his bishop.  And there have been no consequences, grave or otherwise, for Arulraj and Paulinraj, in spite of much more serious acts committed while presenting themselve as Catholic priests.

Since January 2007 I have met Bishop Prakasam in Nellore, India and in London. I have written to him countless times, asking time and time again for him to deal with the two priests.  After the first meeting in January 2007 he assured me that he would be taking appropriate action.   By email, he informed me on 21 May 2007: "I am initiating the process of giving a canonical conclusion to the status of Arulraj, as per the Cannon [sic] Law."  When I discovered a few months later that nothing in fact had been initiated I wrote to him on 26 November 2007, with a "formal request" for disciplinary action to be taken against Gali Arulraj and Vatakili Paulinraj. The letter said:

 In January, I informed you that Enable's Trustees do not believe that Enable, as an organisation, has a responsibility to ask you to discipline your priests.  However, individuals within Enable, including myself and other trustees, are entitled to express their opinions informally and even to raise matters formally with you.   
On several occasions since January, I have mentioned that I was expressing informally to you the sense of outrage caused by the behaviour of both Arulraj and Paulinraj,  and I have expressed an expectation that their bishop should take proper disciplinary action against them.  I am saddened that I have had to express my opinion so frequently, and that you have not taken any action.  A bishop who is conscious of his responsibilities when faced with the sorts of outrages committed by Arulraj and Paulinraj should take action without being asked formally to do so,  and I have not wanted to ask you formally to take action because this in itself suggests that you have been negligent in taking the action expected of you.
It is therefore with much regret that I am now writing to you, more ten months after I first raised these matters with you,  to ask you formally to take proper disciplinary action against your two priests.  Arulraj merits immediate suspension from all priestly ministry, with a further canonical process to consider whether he should be dismissed from the priesthood.  Paulinraj merits at least an immediate suspension from all public priestly ministry, including suspension from his position as parish priest.  There may well be grounds for further disciplinary action to be taken against Paulinraj, given his close association with Arulraj's activities.
You have already received details about the activities of Arulraj and Paulinraj from me, Bishop Balaswamy and [a diocesan official].  You have also received a copy of the charge sheets drawn up for their trial at the criminal court at Ongole [...]
Each of Enable's trustees has asked to be included in this formal request for discplinary action to be taken against Arulraj and Paulinraj.  The names of these trustees are  Ms Alison Davis, Mr Colin Harte, Mrs Eileen Brydon, Mrs Janet Thomas, Dr Hugh Heggary, and Mr Robin Haig.  The trustees are all Catholics and are fully informed of the actions of Arulraj and Paulinraj which they find entirely incompatible with that of the priestly ministry.  Like me, the trustees regret that you chose not to discipline your priests before now, and regret the need to ask you formally to take action.  Our formal request reflects the opinion expressed by many hundreds of supporters of Enable from both the laity and clergy.
Five years on from my first meeting with Bishop Nellore, no progress has been made.

The evidence of Arulraj's million pound scam

"I can live my priestly life under a tree or in a hut. I do not need these buildings. They are meant for the disabled children and not for me. I have lived hard way and I can live hard way till my death."
                      -  (Fr) Gali Arulraj.  Email to Enable's Chair, Alison Davis, 6 May 2006

"All these years I was doing all the works that have been asked by Fr Gali Arulraj on your behalf without taking a rupee except the gift you give when you come to India."
                     - (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj.  Final email to Alison Davis and Colin Harte, 3 June 2006

Well, that's what they said......but the evidence tells a very different story:

The  fraudulent DNSSD accounts for the year ending March 2006   indicate that apart from about £3,000 received from two other sources, DNSSD relied on Enable to funds its projects. This was the pattern of previous years too and Enable understood it was providing 98% of DNSSD's income.

The (genuine) DNSSD bank statements (of which I now have a copy), that came to light during the police investigation, revealed that in the years during which Enable understood that it was providing a necessary 98% of DNSSD's income, it was in fact providing only 37% of its income.  In addition to Enable's funds, DNSSD received during that period donations of INR (Indian Rupees) 85,350,785 from other overseas sources. This amount was embezzled - not used for charitable purposes. Taking into account fluctuations in the exchange rate this is an amount in the region of 1.2 million pounds sterling (close to two million dollars or euros).

If you scammed a million pounds in the UK or the equivalent amount of dollars in the USA you would be a wealthy person. Multiply that amount several times and you will get a glimpse of the scale of luxury provided by Arulraj's scam in a small town like Ongole in South India.

The palatial property in Gollipudi Street, Santhapet, Ongole built for Arulraj's wife and children from embezzled funds

The same property, which is so secluded it cannot be seen clearly from the main road, and is too large to be pictured clearly.  This side view was photographed by me after a neighbour allowed me access to his property.

The charge sheet, dealing with the crimes of Arulraj and his associates was filed in court in Ongole and  reveals what happened to some of the embezzled funds.  In addition to the property, photographed above, it gives details of other properties (not previously declared) in Ongole and also one as far away as Bangalore.

The charge sheet gives details of a property, constructed for INR 21,01,112 (about £30,000 - a large amount in Ongole) in the name of (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj. Why he needed the house is unclear given that he  was working as a parish priest some distance away at the time, living in a house provided by the diocese. Unlike Arulraj who was scamming full-time, Paulinraj visited the DNSSD projects for just a few hours every week or two. There is no way that a priest like Paulinraj could have honestly amassed such a large amount (especially by Indian standards) to construct a house for himself.   Paulinraj also had  INR 48,77,700 (about £70,000) transferred from DNSSD in his bank account.   Arulraj rewarded his nephew Paulinraj well for his involvement in the scams, no doubt knowing he couldn't have been so successful without him. 

In addition to the properties he bought or constructed from embezzled funds, the charge sheet records that Arulraj had INR 65,56,749 (about £94,000) transferred from DNSSD in his personal bank account. The DNSSD bank statements show that the charity account had also been used like a personal bank account with a range of large withdrawals made over the years for unidentified purposes.

The evidence of the bank statements, as well as the findings uncovered by the Indian police investigation and included in the charge sheet, demonstrates clearly that Gali Arulraj, with the support of Vatakili Paulinraj and others, was a million pound scammer. 

Arulraj's contact details from his website

Rehabilitation Centre, Annavarappadu, Ongole

Phone:  9989604414; +919989604414; 08592-224110; +91 8592-224110; +918592-224110;  +918592224110; +91 8592224110

If anyone gets an unsolicited mailing from Arulraj, possibly under the name of a different Society but with the same telephone numbers, and google searches the number in order to get more information, they will find this post - and will have avoided being scammed.  It's my pleasure to have helped :-).

From the mouth of a consummate scammer

Following on from yesterday's post I found an email, sent to me and also to Enable's Chair (Alison Davis) on 8 December 2004.  It describes how scams work in the state of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.), where DNSSD is based.  The email is from none other than the expert scammer Gali Arulraj.  Here is the relevant extract:, reproduced as it was written:

"I wish to share with you some information about NGOs in A.P.
There are 4000 NGOs in A.P.  Most of them exist in paper. Nearly 20% work here and there genuinely. These are mostly church related organizations. These organizations also have different aims and areas of working.  There is one organization in Ongole they are working for erradicating the child labour. But mostly it is some sort of employment for the NGOs.
In every projects they plan 70% would go for salaries and 30% would reach real beneficiaries. There are some NGOs who are always interested to get addresses (donors) and apply for some amount which is not realistic because they are not sure whether the agency would give the help needed and therefore they apply for small help because they think whatever comes is O.K.
[...]There may be some NGOs who will have 10 donors correspondence and ask all of them equal amount then they get what they need. To all of them they would give the same picture of the building. In this situation a donor can be happy that they asked for small amount for a big building.
[...]Many organizations give money and they would never visit and that type of projects would remain only in the paper.  Since you come every year you know what is happening and the developments etc."
Arulraj also spoke on this topic of scamming to us several times.  It was obviously a topic close to his heart.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

How the scam works

Fraudulent DNSSD accounts for the financial year ending March 2006
signed off by the chartered accountant and Gali Arulraj

How could Gali Arulraj get away with scamming Enable and other agencies for so many years? Didn't Enable monitor the projects? Didn't Enable view his society's accounts?

In fact, Enable was more conscientious about monitoring the projects in India than most comparable international agencies.  Two of Enable's trustees visited the projects in India in 1995, 1997, and 1998.  Thereafter, at least two  trustees (and usually more) visited each January between 2001 and 2006, each visit lasting two weeks. During those January visits Enable's trustees closely monitored how well the projects were functioning,  discussed possible developments, and went carefully through the accounts statements with Gali Arulraj and Vatakili Paulinraj.  We examined the formal accounts we had received for the financial year (ending in March), which were signed off by the chartered account, Mr Parchuri Venkata Ranganadham (whom I met). We also examined an informal set of accounts for the calendar year (January to December) and based subsequent funding decisions on (what we reasonably believed to be) accurate and reliable information.

As has been described in the first post on this blog, the chartered accountant signed off statements of the accounts knowing them to be entirely false.  They were tailor-made to deceive Enable.  There is nothing that an overseas aid agency can do in the face of systematic corruption by people who are willing not only to violate their professional code of ethics but to break the law. It was only by chance that Enable uncovered Arulraj's scam with the DNSSD after discovering that Mr Ranganadham had falsely certified the accounts of another charity.

The formal sets of DNNSD accounts were also signed off by Arulraj (as shown in the picture above). The informal accounts, which were equally false, were signed off by both Arulraj and Paulinraj (below).

Fraudulent informal DNSSD accounts for the calendar year Jan- Dec 2005, signed by Paulinraj and Arulraj, presented to  Enable's trustees in January 2006 in order to raise funds by deception.
(This is my copy and the scribbling on the right hand side is mine, converting the figures given in Indian rupees into pounds. This is the summary page and further details were provided on attached pages.) 

How the scams in countries like India work:

Scam Level 1:  At this level scams are simple.  The scammer provides no service whatsoever, but provides potential donors with plans, e.g., to provide a community water pump.  If the scammer gets funding, he merely obtains old photos from other service providers and sends them to the donors showing them how well their money was used.  (Their donation, of course, has helped nobody but the scammer).  Of course, even scams like this require an investment from the scammer - there are costs involved in getting letters and photos printed and mailed overseas. If the investment is £300, but results in funds of £5,000 then the investment is well worth it.

Scam Level 2.   Scams at this level require a little more investment if there is a chance that there may at some point be monitoring of the projects for which funding is sought. If the scammer is obtaining funds for a school for 100 poor children, he might rent a small property and village children might be invited occasionally for something like a cultural programme or medical check-up. He might give a cash incentive to the children's family to encourage the participation of the children. If someone from an international agency were to visit, the scammer would make sure that the children were in attendance during the few hours that the visit would take place. It would be unlikely that the visitor spoke the children's language and so he or she could not directly question the children. Compared with Level 1 scams, the scammer might have to make a larger investment, say £5,000 but it would be well worth it if the returns were, say, £20,000.

Scam Level 3.  At this level the scammer has to work much harder and actually provide a real service that has real beneficiaries. Arulraj's scam during the years 1995 - 2006 worked at this level, and the harder he worked the more lucrative it became. The fact that he could verifiably demonstrate significant benefits to those in need - by providing surgery, educating very disabled children, building more residential centres, etc. - made it easier to gain the confidence of donors. A Level 3 scammer would, for example, seek £5,000 from a donor  for surgery for 25 children and then show the donor  photos of the children after they had it.  Two or three other donors would make the same donation (believing they were funding the surgery) and receive the same photos. With this scam, 25 children would have benefited from surgery, but this would effectively be an 'investment' by the scammer, who would be keeping for himself the 'duplicate' donations for the same service. At this level, the scam requires fraudulent accounting. Arulraj's scam worked thanks to the complicity of his chartered accountant Mr P.V. Ranganadham.  Yes, Arulraj did provide an actual service for a large number of disabled children. Enable's intensive monitoring over several years required this. During the financial year 2005-2006 Arulraj's 'investment' (i.e., the amount he spent from donations to DNSSD on providing a concrete service for disabled children) was about £185,000.  However, he ciphoned off for himself a similar sized amount from donations not declared in the DNSSD accounts.

Ironically, it was Arulraj who explained to me (when we were on good terms before 2006) how scams work in India, though he spoke only of Level 1 and Level 2 scams, of which he was contemptuous. He spoke about the scams as a contrast to the 'genuine' service that he was providing! He didn't speak of Level 3 scams (which is not surprising!), yet these are, in my view, even more contemptible.  Arulraj knew the serious needs of disabled children in his region.  He knew that although many were being helped, so many others desperately lacked the care and support - medical, personal, social and educational - that would have made an enormous difference to their lives and the lives of the families. He stole from those who have needs greater than anything he will ever experience. His theft demonstrates that he was not concerned about caring for disabled children. For him they were merely a business: the bigger the 'investment,' the greater his financial reward.

Having been a Level 3 scammer until 2006, Arulraj Raj is now an occasional Level 2 scammer, but generally operates now at Level 1.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped - The Scam

An impressive looking website helps to promote the scam 
 You receive a letter or email from an organisation in India, describing the dire need of children who are disabled, homeless, sick, orphaned, hungry or needing clean water. Of course, you are moved by compassion and want to help  - but you wonder whether the appeal is authentic.  Could it not, after all, be a scam?  One way of checking its authenticity, you might think, is to see what is said about the organisation online. 

An online search for The New Life Society for the Poor and Handicaped will reveal a professionally produced website  for what appears to be a credible society, actively working for some of the poorest in India. The impressive-looking website (expensively produced by Bhoomica InfoGraphics  in Hyderabad, A.P., as a little background checking reveals) suggests that you can confidently donate and that your contribution will make a difference to the lives of those greatly in need.

But is the "New Life Society" really as it seems?

Some Scam Observations

1.  The contact details of the '"New Life Society" on the "Contact us" page are "Rehabilitation Centre, Annavarapadu, Ongole."  This is, in fact, the address of a Centre, the construction of which was funded by Enable and which is legally owned by the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD).  Until the criminal case concerning Arulraj and the DNSSD comes to trial it is unlawful for this property to be sold.  This has been Arulraj's base since 2001.

2. DNSSD was primarily involved with supporting disabled children.  The many photos of children on the "New Life Society" site were supported by DNSSD before 2006.  It is particularly reprehensible that they should now be used as part of Arulraj's scam, given that most of them were abandoned by Arulraj in 2006. Amongst those children who remained in one of the DNSSD centres after that date were some -  included in the website photos - who credibly told me and others personally in January 2007 that they had been intimidated and even beaten by DNSSD personnel after Enable's association with DNSSD ended in May 2006. (I will write more about this in another post)

3.  Not even one photo of the children on the website was taken after 2006.  Some photos were taken in 2003-2004.  I know that some of the photos were taken in January 2002. How do I know?  Because I took them and possess the originals and negatives! And I very much object to my own photographs being used now as part of Arulraj's scam.

4. An impressive list of other services is given.  Some of them are wholly fictitious: having photographs of  elderly people attending a function (at a DNSSD centre!) and providing them with a meal (as happens at such functions in India) does not constitute care for them, and there is not even one "old age home" run by any organisation with which Arulraj is involved. Several years ago Enable provided DNSSD with funds for such things as polio surgeries, hand water pumps, and vocational training courses, and so Arulraj has photographs to show an involvement with such things.  But those days are in the distant past.

5. In the "About Us" page it states that the New Life Society was registered in Andhra Pradesh in 1999. Either it was registered later than that date (in which case the site is being deliberately deceptive) or it has been scamming since then and raising money for non-existent projects -- possibly claiming that DNSSD projects (funded by Enable) were projects of the New Life Society, with Arulraj pocketing all the donations received for them. If the New Life Society had actually been doing any concrete public service since 1999, why are all the photographs on the website of activities associated with the DNSSD?

6. On the "project experiences" page it says that the New Life Society has "3 decades of experienced management in the community development." This is quite a remarkable accomplishment for a Society registered, according to the same website, for 13 not 30 years.  This, and the other 'experiences' are entirely made up.  It sounds great, but has no substance to it whatsoever.

7. One page describes "Our team" - but only one person is in fact mentioned: "Mr G. A. Raj." He is described as having "undergone a number of interstate, national and international exposures."  As the name "Mr G.A. Raj" has received no exposure until now, this is in fact untrue. However, given that his alter-ego "Fr Gali Arulraj" has been widely exposed as a fraudster, scammer, and thief, perhaps it should be applauded as a uniquely truthful statement.  As he clearly esteems exposure, I trust that Arulraj will be grateful for the exposure given to him by this blog.

8. If its Director is "Fr Gali Arulraj" (as stated on Arulraj's Linked-In profile) why the deception on the New Life Society website that its Director is Mr. G.A. Raj?

A cynical manifestation of religious idealism - by a priest of all people - to promote a scam
9. The prominent display of images of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta and Jesus Christ on the website promoting such a despicable scam, shows Arulraj's contempt for the religion of which he is supposed to be a priest.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

An introduction to (Fr) Gali Arulraj

Gali Arulraj - a scamming, thieving Catholic priest with a 'wife' and kids

Gali Arulraj is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Nellore, in Andhra Pradesh state, South India.  He was ordained a priest in 1981. 

While parish priest in the town of Kanigiri, he established an independent charity, called the Dayananda Nilayam Society for Social Development (DNSSD). Since its inception Arulraj has been Director of DNSSD.

Between 1998 and 2006 the main donor to DNSSD was a registered UK charity, Enable (Working in India).

Since 2006, Enable has discovered that Arulraj, with associates,  embezzled donations in excess of one million pounds.

In 2007, Gali Arulraj and three associates were charged by the Indian police, at Ongole, Andhra Pradesh, with a number of criminal offences, including theft, criminal conspiracy, 'cheating' and fraud.  Those charged with Arulraj are (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj (Arulraj's nephew who is also a priest of the Diocese of Nellore), Dr Gudipati Subba Rao (a medical practitioner at the DNSSD projects), and  Mrs Gongeda Sujatha (described in the charge sheet and elsewhere as the 'wife' of Gali Arulraj. Her name is sometimes written as Gangada Sujatha).

The charges were brought in 2007, but the case has still not come to the criminal court.

Although Catholic priests are not allowed to marry, Mrs Gongeda Sujatha is known as Arulraj's 'wife'.  It is unclear whether they have formally married, but Arulraj is recognised as the father to her two young children.

There were several elements to Arulraj's deception during the years that Enable supported DNSSD.  At first he was a priest in good standing with his bishop and diocese. When he abandoned his diocesan responsibilities in violation of his obedience to his bishop (from 1997) and lived as a married man with his 'wife' and children, he continued to present himself as a priest in good standing.  His deception was made possible due to the complicity of his nephew, (Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj [whose name is sometimes given as Fr V. Paulin Raj], who served as Secretary/Treasurer of DNSSD.  With Paulinraj at times concelebrating with him, Arulraj performed the sacred priestly action of celebrating Holy Mass, even though he was living a way of life that made a mockery of that sacred action.  No one in Enable knew anything about Arulraj's double life until June 2006.

(Fr) Vatakili Paulinraj assisted Arulraj's deception
Arulraj and Paulinraj embezzled funds by presenting Enable with sets of false accounts over several years.  An informal set was provided for the calendar year during visits to India by Enable representatives each January.  A formal set of accounts, signed off by a chartered accountant, Mr Parchuri Venkata Ranganadham, of Ongole, was prepared for each financial year, ending in March.  Enable was also presented with 'bank statements' signed by a manager of the Indian Overseas Bank, Trunk Road, Ongole  (with whom I met and received confirmation of the authenticity of the 'statements').  The subsequent police investigation revealed that both the bank manager and the chartered accountant had fraudulently approved entirely false accounts and bank statements.  Arulraj's 'scam' had been to simultaneously raise funds from other donors, about whom Enable was not informed, and there was no record of those other donations on the accounts shown to us.  In turn, the other donors were not informed about the donations DNSSD received from Enable.

The scam enabled Arulraj and Paulinraj to embezzle more than one million pounds.  They kept for themselves donations that had been given to support disabled children.  In other words, they stole from the poorest in Indian society to enrich themselves. The evidence of their embezzlement was discovered in their bank accounts and possession of palatial private properties.

Enable discovered a problem with the DNSSD accounts, from which the embezzlement was eventually discovered, in 2006. When Arulraj and Paulinraj failed to give an adequate reply to queries, as Enable's General Secretary I contacted the Bishop of Nellore, then the Most Rev. P.C. Balaswamy, seeking his intervention.  With his encouragement and support I presented the evidence of criminal wrongdoing to the police in June 2006. Bishop Balaswamy gave strong support to Enable's attempts to justly resolve the problem with the two priests.  When Arulraj and Paulinraj abandoned hundreds of children for whom they had assumed responsibility, Bishop Balaswamy asked for (and received) Enable's assistance so that the Diocese would be able to support a number of them.

In December 2006, Bishop Balaswamy's long-overdue retirement (several years after the expected Bishops' retirement age of 75) was accepted and a successor, Bishop Doraboina Moses Prakasam, was appointed. To say that Enable's Board of Trustees (including myself) are "disappointed" with the way Bishop Prakasam has addressed the scandal involving his two priests would be a charitable understatement.

Some details of what happened in 2006-2007 and subsequently will be described in other posts.

Having kept a low profile for a  few years Arulraj re-emerged in February 2012, presenting himself as Director of the  New Life Society for the Poor and Handicapped.  On his Linked-In Profile, Arulraj presents himself as a priest, describing himself as Fr Gali Arulraj, Director at New Life Society for the poor and handicapped, whereas on a website for that "Society", launched in March 2012, he describes himself as Mr. G.A. Raj, Director.

[UPDATE 30 March 2012:  Following the exposure given by this blog the profile and website have already been removed]

The projects described on Arulraj's professionally designed website, for which he is seeking donations, are non-existent. I will describe the scam in subsequent posts. 

This blog has been set up to expose Arulraj's continued scams.  Having experienced Arulraj's deception over a period of many years, I feel a responsibility to warn others of what he is currently doing.  As a Catholic myself,  it is with much regret that I find myself having to expose a consummate scammer who is also a Catholic priest.  The regret is accompanied by considerable dismay that Bishop Prakasam of Nellore has turned a deaf ear to repeated requests, since I first met him in January 2007, for Arulraj's canonical status to be addressed.  The ongoing scandal of the "scammer priest" could so easily have been prevented.