MUMBAI, India – A bishop accused of being secretly married and having a child has resigned in India, months after he was taken to court for allegedly misappropriating diocesan funds to support his family.
Bishop Prasad Gallela, 56, of Cuddapah in southern India has said the accusations were false and that the woman identified as his wife on land deeds is actually the wife of his dead brother.
Pope Francis on Monday appointed Bishop Gali Bali, Bishop Emeritus of Guntur, as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese.
Bali told Crux this was “an interim arrangement.”
According to The Hindu, the congregation at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Mariyapuram prevented Gallela from celebrating morning Mass in July because they were upset over the allegations.
Six months ago, laypeople Mesa Ravi Kumar and Byreddy Chinnappa Reddy jointly filed a criminal complaint against the bishop, accusing him of taking funds from the diocese to support his wife and 18-year-old son.
They said they tried to present the issue of the bishop’s alleged family and financial impropriety to officials in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad and the Vatican but were unable to do so.
Sources close to the case told Crux there is a “huge scandal” in the diocese, and parishes have been refusing to allow the bishop to make his pastoral visits.
In 2016, Gallela was kidnapped and held for $75,000. Two priests were arrested in connection with the crime.