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Temple furore

PUBLISHED: 16:59 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 23 August 2010

SCRUTINY: Sikh Temple

SCRUTINY: Sikh Temple

MEMBERS of the Sikh community are being lobbied about claims surrounding the funding of Europe s largest Gurdwara. Thousands of Sikhs paraded from the new temple in Khalsa Avenue, Gravesend, on Saturday as part of the annual Vaisakhi festival. It also s

MEMBERS of the Sikh community are being lobbied about claims surrounding the funding of Europe's largest Gurdwara.

Thousands of Sikhs paraded from the new temple in Khalsa Avenue, Gravesend, on Saturday as part of the annual Vaisakhi festival.

It also signaled the opening of the multi-million pound place of worship, but allegations about funding were made in a four-page leaflet posted through about 2,500 letterboxes.

It claimed accounts for the Guru Nanak Gurdwara were "riddled with errors and inaccuracies".

Original estimates for the Gurdwara had been about £7 million, but that has rocketed to about £12 million.

Spokesman for the unnamed group, Mohan Singh Takhar said: "The aim of the leaflet was to gauge opinion within the area's Sikh community about spiraling costs.

"By Monday there had been such a big response that a meeting to decide next steps was being planned to gain transparency of figures."

The leaflet posted to selected roads within the Sikh community reads: "The [Gurdwara] committee invites mistrust by failing to provide and disclose legitimate requests by the community for information of the funds raised and spent by them.

"If they have nothing to hide, and everything is above board and correct, why perpetuate the situation? Instead they should promote openness and transparency.

"They should provide written information as to the finances of the Gurdwara.

"It should be down to them to keep us fully informed of everything that is happening. Instead of which, they decline to do so.

"We have checked their accounts filed with the Charity Commission. They are unaudited and riddled with errors and inaccuracies.

"They do not provide any information as to the monies raised or spent on the Gurdwara. They say they have no legal requirement to do so."

Current committee president Jaspal Singh Dhesi was unavailable to comment as the Reporter went to press.

For more on the Vaisakhi celebrations, see page 10.

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