At a meeting of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Thursday, fresh elections for the executive committee were announced.
Chandigarh: The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), a Sikh shrine body in the national capital, saw a crisis Thursday after its president Manjit Singh G.K. refused to step down despite corruption charges against him.
The body’s general secretary, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who is also the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Rajouri Garden, however, resigned along with some other members following an emergent meeting of the 15-member executive committee of the DSGMC held in New Delhi this evening.
The DSGMC is currently controlled by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which has a majority among the members. Both G.K. and Sirsa are considered close to Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Earlier, Badal stepped in to salvage the committee and his party from humiliation, seeking resignation of the entire panel.
However, the events at the meeting didn’t turn out in the way expected, following G.K.’s defiance of Badal’s orders.
The executive committee is the all powerful group of five office bearers and another 10 executive members controlling the DSGMC that runs a majority of gurudwaras in the national capital, including the historical Bangla Sahib, Sis Ganj Sahib and Rakab Ganj Sahib.
“G.K. has gone against the orders of the party. He said that when fresh elections were being called where was the need to resign?” said Kulwant Singh Baath, a member of the executive committee who attended the meeting.
Baath said he has resigned along with some other members.
Another executive member Harinder Pal Singh resigned while the meeting was going on.
“We are bound by the order of the party. There is no way we will go against it,” he told ThePrint.
The body announced fresh internal elections for the constitution of a new executive committee Thursday. The committee members also suggested 29 December as the poll date to the Gurdwara Election Commission. The general body meeting of DSGMC has also been called on the same day.
The term of the current executive committee was to end in March next year. However, the elections have now been called early to save the committee from embarrassment in the event of a police case being registered against its president.
The corruption charge
In early October, Gurmeet Singh ‘Shunty’, an independent DSGMC member, held a press conference and leveled charges of serious corruption and mismanagement against G.K.
Shunty alleged in his complaint, a copy of which is with ThePrint, that G.K. siphoned off funds meant for the committee. He alleged that the president worked in connivance with some employees of the committee, and on at least three instances, misappropriated funds worth over Rs 1 crore offered by the Sikh sangat in Delhi gurdwaras.
Shunty alleged that a donation of Rs 51 lakh given by a non-resident Indian devotee from Canada was siphoned off through the creation of a fake entry into the account books of the committee. He further alleged that G.K. had in yet another instance misappropriated over Rs 47 lakh through a fake order of books which were never purchased.
He also alleged that GK showed purchase of gloves, blazers, safari suits, etc., worth over Rs 5 lakh from a company which was defunct and running from his own residential address in New Delhi.
‘Answerable to sangat’
Speaking to ThePrint, G.K. said that allegations against him were false and politically motivated.
“There are a host of allegations against Shunty which I will bring out at the right time,” he said.
G.K. and his team supported by the Akali Dal wrested DSMGC control from the Congress-supported team of Paramjit Singh Sarna in 2013.
Shunty has been elected thrice as a member since 2006. He remained the general secretary of the committee from 2009 to 2013 when Sarna was its president.
Even during his term as general secretary, he had highlighted various instances of corruption within the committee but the matter didn’t reach this stage.
“One of the main reasons that the Akalis came to power in 2013 was due to the issues raised by Shunty as general secretary,” said an Akali leader who didn’t wish to be named.
However, following differences with G.K., Shunty was denied a ticket in the next elections.
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