A petition seeking the dismissal of the high-profile Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) auditor SS Kohli was filed before the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission here on Tuesday.
The petition, filed by Akali Dal (Panj Pardhani) leader Baldev Singh Sirsa besides seeking the dismissal of Kohli, also calls for recovering the entire sum of money which was paid as salary by the SGPC to the auditor, who is close to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
The petition also calls for the dismissal of SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar and secretary Dalmegh Singh for allegedly having flouted the rules.
The petition will come up for hearing before the three-member full bench of the commission on July 24.
This is not the first time that Sirsa has filed a petition of this nature against Kohli. In 2009, following Kohli's appointment, Sirsa had filed a similar petition in which he had challenged the appointment on the grounds that the SGPC did not follow the procedure to appoint him as internal auditor. He had pointed out that the SGPC president did not have the powers to appoint a person directly to a post where the salary was above Rs. 7,000 per month. The proper procedure would have been to advertise the post before choosing the candidate, he had said.
The commission, while acting on the petition, had ordered the dismissal of Kohli in October 2009. However, barely a month had passed when the SGPC, after advertising the post, once again appointed Kohli to the post, against a salary of Rs. 5.5 lakh a month as against Rs. 3.5 lakh that he drew at the time of his appointment. Currently, the auditor is drawing around Rs. 8 lakh a month.
In his fresh petition, Sirsa once again cited the same reasons (as in the 2009 petition) while challenging the appointment of Kohli. He also pointed out that there was no need for a fourth internal auditor in the SGPC.
However, the fresh grounds that have been added in the new petition are with reference to the meeting of the SGPC executive held in Chandigarh on July 11. Sirsa has pointed out in the petition that Kohli after being dismissed on July 16 on the orders of the executive was again reinstated the very next day on Makkar's orders.
"The president of the SGPC has no authority to overturn the decision of the executive, as he himself is party to the decision. This is a clear violation of the SGPC rules and procedures for which Makkar and Damegh, both are responsible," the petition pointed out, while seeking the dismissal not just of Kohli but also of the president and secretary of the gurdwara body.
The petition also seeks to recover every penny that was paid to the auditor since 2009, as this money was paid from 'guru-ki-golak'. Kohli's annual pay package is around Rs. 1 crore and his monthly pay is far more than what the seniormost secretary gets in the SGPC that is around Rs. 60,000.