The Kerala High Court on Tuesday ordered a police probe against the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Cardinal and others for allegedly effecting a land deal that caused a loss of crores of rupees to the church in Kochi.

Besides Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, the court also ordered the probe against two priests and a middleman, allegedly involved in the deal that was "effected" by Alencherry.

The Ernakulam archdiocese in 2016 had sold a three-acre piece of land in Kochi to repay a Rs 60 crore bank loan it had earlier taken to construct a medical college.

The agent appointed by the church to facilitate the deal had estimated the value of the land at Rs 27.30 crore, but priests and local people claimed that the property's real value was at least Rs 80 crore.

The court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Cardinal and asked whether the "Cardinal is the King".

This was after last week, when the court had taken a strong view of the Cardinal's counsel's contention that as far as the Cardinal is concerned, the appellate authority is the Pope.

The court had then said that it was strange to hear that the law of the land was not applicable to the Cardinal. It had also made it clear that it was looking if there was any breach of trust in the land deal.

(With agency inputs)