The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently denied anticipatory bail to petitioners accused of siphoning off the funds of Gurudwara Singh Sabha in Barwala town of Hisar District, Haryana.

The Bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill observed that “The Gurudwara is a pious place and the misappropriation of its funds hurts the sentiments of several people. Setting the petitioners free would set a bad example and would give oxygen to the fraudsters. As such, they do not deserve any concession of anticipatory bail.”

In this case, the petitioners had been allegedly accused of misusing the funds of the Gurudwara. There were several FDRs in the name of the Gurudwara Singh Sabha, which were supposed to get matured in December, 2022. However, the petitioners, in connivance with each other, closed the FDRs prematurely and transferred about Rs. 71 Lakhs to their personal accounts and even to the account of a private company run by petitioner no. 2. An FIR was lodged under Sections 420, 406 and 120-B Indian Penal Code, 1860. Apprehending their arrest, the petitioners moved High Court seeking anticipatory bail.

Advocate Aditya Sanghi appeared for the petitioner and argued that the petitioners were the competent members of the Gurudwara Singh Sabha and were responsible for doing all the activities of the Gurudwara and the amount withdrawn was used for the construction and repairing work of the building of the Gurudwara as well as the shops of the Gurudwara Committee. It was also submitted that the shops under the ownership of Gurudwara were rented out to the relatives of the complainant, but they had not paid the rent for a considerable period and wanted to grab the property of Gurudwara and that the present FIR was the outcome of that dispute.

Additional A.G. Rajesh Gaur appeared for the respondent-State.

The Court noted that the petitioners were required for custodial interrogation to recover the amount and to take the investigation to its logical conclusion and considering the nature and gravity of offence, the Court denied the anticipatory bail to the petitioners.

Accordingly, the Court issued notice to the State and the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title- Sarjeet Singh @ Surjeet Singh and others v. State of Haryana

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