City Sikhs mum on B.C. case

Edmonton Sun (Canada), Mar. 14, 2003

It was unclear yesterday how a legal battle raging in British Columbia will impact on the Edmonton construction of the biggest Sikh temple in Canada.

Members of the Nanaksar Gurdwara-Gursikh Temple Society in B.C. are trying to get their spiritual leader deposed because of alleged misappropriation of funds.

“We don’t want to talk about it,” said Jora Singh Grewal, one of the Edmonton volunteers involved in building the impressive temple on Manning Drive.

Other volunteers and former volunteers contacted by The Sun were equally reluctant to comment.

The ground for the temple was broken in 1989 and most of the construction is being done by volunteers.

The man at the centre of the B.C. court case, Harnek Singh Grewal, 65, has filed a statement of defence denying using temple society funds for personal use.

Known by his followers as Maharaj Ji, Grewal also denies accusations that he lost $45,000 in a Las Vegas casino and used temple funds to finance family weddings.

The statement of defence is accompanied by several affidavits in support of Grewal, who heads a religious sect with temples in Edmonton, Toronto, England and India. He controls a global empire estimated at $20 million.

Madho Singh Pandher, Tehal Singh Kaila and Dharam Singh Manhas have petitioned the court to remove Grewal and the society’s directors. They also want an independent audit of the society’s financial affairs from 1994 to 2002.

Tens of thousands of people witnessed Grewal’s accession to the worldwide spiritual leadership of the Gursikh congregation in September 1994 after the death of Sant Baba Mihan Singh Ji.

Grewal refutes charges of financial impropriety.

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