By BRIAN MOORE
A PRIEST whose foundation runs a charity shop in Schull has been arrested in India for allegedly kidnapping his bishop.
Fr Raja Reddy is currently under arrest in Jammalamadugu in Southern India after allegedly joining 14 other men in an attempt to kidnap Bishop Prasad Gallela, 54, who, sustained injuries during the incident.
It is believed that Fr Reddy had recently been unsuccessful in a bid to become the procurator of the diocese of Cuddapah.
Bishop Gallela and his driver were kidnaped on Sunday April 25th at a village called Nagasanepalle. He was beaten, blindfolded and a demand for ,000 was issued.
According to media reports in India, the assailants allegedly took away a bag belonging to Gallela containing a small amount of cash, three ATM cards, a silver chain with the bishop’s holy cross, and his iPhone.
Police officials told journalists that it was a case of kidnapping for ransom, theft, attempted murder, causing hurt and mischief and criminal conspiracy. The accused left the bishop and his driver on a highway at about 2am on April 26th, after the bishop agreed to pay roughly ,000 for their freedom.
Gallela lodged a complaint with the police on April 27th, saying that the incident had to do with the fallout from recent transfers of pastors working in the diocese.
Fr Raja Reddy, the arrested priest charged with being the central figure in the case, runs an institution called ‘My Daddy Home’ in India. which houses an international school and college. Prior to this incident, he was considered a friend of the bishop, recently presenting Gallela with an expensive Innova car on the prelate’s birthday.
Fr Raja’s Charity Shop in Schull is now closed and a sign, posted on the door, informs customers that the shop will remain closed and that fundraising is suspended ‘until the conclusion of the investigations into the alleged malpractice in India’.
One local volunteer who helped Fr Raja set up the Schull charity shop and indeed travelled to India to see the work of the Foundation there, has since broken off ties with the Foundation, citing local concerns including the lack of engagement with local community groups and the local diocese. Fr Raja has previously visited Schull to talk about the work of his Foundation.