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Friday, July 19, 2024

Punjab: Fake healing pastor Ankur Narula’s church & Bible college raided by IT

The Income Tax department raided self-styled pastor Ankur Narula’s properties in Punjab over irregularities in cash transactions. His church in Khambra, a Bible college, a UPSC exam coaching center and a supermarket, his manager’s residence and multiple other locations were raided on April 25. Hindu Post had reported about the pastor’s dubious dealings in foreign funds and its utilization for conversion activities earlier.

Ankur Yoseph Narula, the self-styled ‘healing’ pastor founded “Church of Sign and Wonders” at Khambra village in 2008, after leaving his family business. He gained fame by claiming to exorcise evil spirits and perform miracles of healing diseases through prayers. In his own words, he started off with 3 followers in 2008 and had 3 lakh followers with the church spread over 60 acres in 2018. His church has 15 branches across Bharat and other countries. Earlier in January Pentecostal pastors Bajinder Singh and Harpreet Deol were also raided.

Following their raid, Narula boasted to his congregation that “he has no fear of any such raids because he has been preparing for the past 10 years”. In 2020, the Legal Rights Forum(LRF) filed a complaint with the Home Ministry accusing Narula of violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA). He reportedly created a shell company in the UK with a motive to launder money and later dissolved it. Spiritual Welfare Society, an FCRA NGO headquartered in Khambra where Narula began his life as a pastor is also dubious in its dealings.

In the period of 2017-19, it received approximately Rs. 4.5 crores from foreign countries. Surprisingly for an NGO receiving such a huge amount of donations, it doesn’t even have a website. All one can find about the “social, educational and religious” purposes for which they receive these funds is a Youtube video of them distributing 50 sewing machines to poor women. The video says that it did the same in association with Khambra Church and Rashtriya Masihi Sangh. Nothing else is known about the activities of the NGO.

Narula uses other pastors in his church as fronts to collect funds. Pastors Varsha Rani, Balvir Kaur and Piara Lal all run NGOs which are basically a web of NGOs created by Narula with the same goal of converting Hindus and Sikhs of Punjab to Christianity. Varsha Rani is the vice president of the Ankur Narula Ministry Society. Balvir Kaur, who calls herself a “Prophetess”, runs Roshni Ki Kiran Ministry. Piara Lal runs Gospel for Nations, Dialpur. All three are office bearers of the Spiritual Welfare Society as well. More details about the shady dealings of Ankur Narula can be read here.

Now, Narula owns a Bible College, Sophia Institute for UPSC aspirants and Emanuel superstore in Khambra all of which were raided by IT. His manager Jaspal Mundal’s residence at Sidhwan Mustaddi village was also raided. Last year Narula had said that he would form an action committee of like-minded pastors and approach the US President with their “issues”.

It is speculated that the recent IT raids could be connected to the United Punjab Party, a Christian political party formed by Pentecostal pastors of Punjab, extending its support to Aam Aadmi Party for the upcoming by-election in Jalandhar.

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