Hyderabad: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and a nationwide lockdown, the Andhra Pradesh government appointed the new State Election Commissioner (SEC), Justice (retd) V. Kanagaraj, who assumed office on 11 April.

A message claiming that he was a pastor for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 2010 and at present is the chairman of Chevalier T. Thomas Elizabeth College for Women has been doing the rounds of social media.

Fact Check:

This claim is FALSE.

NewsMeter searched the website of Chevalier T. Thomas Elizabeth College for Women and found that the chairman of the college is J. Kanakaraj who is also a retired Judge of Chennai High Court. The chairman's photograph on the website is not that of the SEC.

J Kanagaraj

We also did a Google reverse image search of the photos of the pastor that is being circulated online and found that the man in the photos is Rt. Rev. S. Edwin Jayakumar, the twelfth bishop of Tranquebar in the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC). He was consecrated in August 2014.

Edwin Jayakumar


A few local Telugu news media published articles rubbishing the rumours and confirmed that these claims are false.

Here is the complete profile of Jutice Kanagaraj which shows that he has never worked as a pastor and is not related to any of the organisations mentioned in the messages.

College CV

Hence, the claim that the new SEC of Andhra Pradesh was a pastor earlier and is the chairman of a women's college is false.

Claim Review :   Andhras new election commissioner is Evangelical Lutheran pastor
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  False

Satya Priya BN

Motivated professional with a zeal to learn, Sathya Priya has more than 5 years of experience as a Content and Digital manager in Press, Electronic and Digital media. She is Andhra Pradesh government accredited Multimedia Journalist. Ms Priya has worked for more than 4 years as Web and Digital media manager in Bhaarat Today, telugu TV channel. Along with news, she has experience in television program production. Demonstrated excellent management and leadership skills to lead the Digital Media staff. Worked collaboratively with staff, management and IT support. A science Post Graduate, with great computing skills, She is a fact checker certified by Google News Initiative. She has also completed Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certification from Google.

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