A day before its budget session, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) office-bearers, members, and officials said that the allegations of irregularities levelled against them were baseless and politically motivated.
Earlier, some SGPC members in the opposition, including Mithu Singh Kahneke, Bhai Gurpreet Singh, Baba Gurmeet Singh Trilokewale and others had said that the Sikh body’s budget was being misused.
SGPC executive committee members Harjap Singh and Gurinderpal Singh, members Bhai Gurcharan Singh, Rajinder Singh, Manjit Singh Bhurakohna, Surjit Singh, Ram Singh, Gurbakhsh Singh Khalsa, and Mangwinder Singh, SGPC additional secretaries Sukhminder Singh, Partap Singh and OSD to SGPC President Satbir Singh jointly held a press conference at SGPC office in Amritsar on Tuesday. The SGPC house will sit for its annual budget on Wednesday.
The SGPC office-bearers and members clarified that they are working as per the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, and it is committed to the management of historical Gurdwara Sahibs as well as the healthcare and education institutions and public welfare.
SGPC office-bearers alleged that under the leadership of former Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mithu Singh Kahneke and other members are deliberately defaming the SGPC and it is unfortunate that they also committed negligence by publically misrepresenting the details of the forthcoming SGPC budget.
They said that conspiracies are being hatched with the intention of taking control of the Sikh body and facts are being distorted, misrepresented and propagated in the Sangat (community + devotees).
While addressing the media, SGPC member Surjit Singh said that the lands of Gurdwara Sahibs managed by the SGPC are not occupied by any political person and in fact, the SGPC has got vacated the illegal possessions of the land. He said the allegation leveled by Kahneke that the lands of SGPC are occupied is far from the truth.
“The land of some gurdwaras were given to the people for cultivation at the time when these were managed by local management committees. But when the management of these gurdwaras came directly under the SGPC, a large number of lands were vacated. When lands were under the local committees, the income from the land was around Rs 39.67 lakh but it has now increased to Rs 4.56 crore,” Surjit Singh said, adding that in the past 15 years, SGPC even had to approach the Supreme Court to vacate the lands and it brought about 1,354 acres under its management
Meanwhile, speaking about the trusts, SGPC member Bhai Ram Singh said that seven trusts are functioning under the SGPC management for smooth functioning of healthcare and educational institutions. He said that Kahneke has leveled the allegation that these trusts are under political possession, while in fact, they are the properties of SGPC, and the SGPC president is working as their chairman.