Thiruvananthapuram, June 29: Days after allegations of sexual abuse of a woman by five priests in Kerala surfaced, a Crime Branch probe was today ordered into the case by state police chief Loknath Behara.
Five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala have been accused of blackmailing and sexually abusing the woman.
"A crime branch probe has been ordered into the allegations," police sources told PTI. Veteran CPI(M) leader and chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission V S Achuthanandan had written to Behara seeking to conduct a probe into the allegations raised by a man alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests.
The letter has been forwarded to Additional Director General of Police Crime branch Shaik Darvesh Saheb to conduct investigations into the matter.
"A preliminary enquiry will be first held into the allegations," the sources said. Crime Branch Inspector General S Sreejith will be leading the probe.
The National Women's Commission (NCW) had also asked the DGP and state police chief to investigate the matter and apprise the commission about the detailed action.
The issue came to light last week after an audio clip of a purported conversation of the complainant with a church official alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests was widely circulated in the social media.
The Kottayam-based church had said it has ordered a "clear, impartial" probe into the allegations and if found guilty, action would be taken.
"The accused would not be shielded and innocent will not be punished," the church had said in a statement. No police complaint has been lodged in the case. The complainant had alleged that some priests allegedly used his wife's secret confession to blackmail her.
Although the man, who came to know about the alleged sexual abuse and blackmailing by priests after checking his wife's e-mail account, had levelled allegations against eight priests, he has named only five priests as the role of three others in the incident could not be established.