Uttarakhand High Court, on Wednesday, directed appointment of a Committee of Financial Experts to look into allegations of financial irregularities in the management of Dargah Sharif Peeran-E-Kalyar.
The Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma opined that the allegations seem prima facie correct, and appointed a Committee of independent experts, including Chartered Accountants, directing them to conduct a special audit into the financial affairs of the Shrine for last 20 years. The audit report has been directed to be submitted to the Court within six months.
The Court was hearing a Petition filed by one Mr. Anwar Jamal Kazmi, demanding appointment of a receiver of panel of receivers for the management of the Dargah. Mr. Kazmi had further demanded a CBI probe into the allegations levelled against the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of Uttarakhand Wakf Board.
The Petition had alleged massive financial irregularities, and mismanagement and misappropriation of funds by the CEO and the Chairman. It had alleged that a major chunk of the donation was being siphoned to the coffers of the Board.
Moreover, Mr. Kazmi had submitted that the activity of letting out of shops, which is undertaken to increase the Shrine’s income, was done by the Chairman in an illegal manner. He also pointed out the non-appointment of a Mutawalli by the duo, in order to withhold the power in their hands.
While the Court noted that there existed practical difficulties for it to come to a logical conclusion, it opined that “since issue touches sentiments of devotees of Shrine and public is involved, this Court cannot shut the issue at this stage”.
“It seems that gradually and as pleaded by the petitioner since Dargah despite of the fact that being the most pious place, gradually, started taking shape of a place meant for the politicians to mint money and to usurp the donations irrespective of public sentiments attached to Shrine and their purpose of donation for Shrine,” the Court further observed. It then issued a writ of “Continuous Mandamus”, directing the District Magistrate to take the following steps:
“1. The District Magistrate, who is also the Administrator of Dargah, would be the Chairman of the Committee, thus constituted to investigate into the affairs of Peeran-E-Kalyar for last twenty years.
The District Magistrate is further directed to constitute a Committee, who should be persons of wisdom, socially recognized, honest, having vast knowledge of Islam and having at least a qualification of post graduation to be members with District Magistrate and Chartered Accountant of the Committee and to work collectively.
With these directions, the District Magistrate has been directed to comply with the order by constituting a committee within three weeks. Four weeks after such constitution, the first report is to be submitted to the Court, informing it of the steps taken in a sealed cover.