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Priests sell baptism certificates

Priests sell baptism certificates

Author: CNN-IBN & Cobrapost
Publication: IBNLive.com
Date: February 21, 2007
URL: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/india/02_2007/priests-sell-their-faith-and-baptism-certificates-34112.html

Baptism is one of Christianity's most sacred rites symbolising purification and a person's admission to the religion. But for some priests baptism has become a money-spinner.

A CNN-IBN and Cobrapost investigation has found that some unscrupulous members of the church are selling baptism certificates, which are needed to prove that a person is Christian.

Father Benjamin Das, pastor of the Idgaah Baptist Church in Paharganj, New Delhi, sells baptism certificates. The investigation team goes undercover and tells him that we need baptism certificates.

Das agrees and fakes a backdated entry in the church register to show us as old members of the church.

Reporter: Achcha jo baptism banayenge, purani date ka bana denge… (We will have to back date the certificate. People must not get a chance to say how did you get a new certificate.)

Das: Haan usmein aisa ki aajkal ke time se saare log jaante hain ki paise se sab kuchh ho sakta hai. Theek hai ya nahin paisa imaan ko bhi kayam nahin rakhta hai, saare kaam ho sakte hain. (People know that money can get anything nowadays. Wrong or right, money can get any work done. Money can even buy your conscience)

Then Das fixes the cost of a certificate. For Rs 15,000 he sells us a certificate. "Total jo hai, mere 15 ho gaye. Two affidavit ke ho gaye and aur 13 yeh ho gaye," says Das. (Rs 15,000 is for me: Rs 2,000 for the affidavits and Rs 13,000 more)

Reporter: Ek baar inhe check bhi kar lijiye, note kai baar nakli bhi nikal jaate hain. (Check the notes, Father. Sometimes the Rs 500 notes turn out to be fakes)

"Nakli kaise honge bhai jab asli kaam ho raha hai toh?" says Das while counting the notes. (How can the notes be fake when you are doing real work?)

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