SAROOPS CASE: RETIRED HIGH COURT JUDGE OPTS OUT OF PROBE IN MISSING 267 SAROOPS CASE3 min read

By: Nidhi Shah

Navita Singh a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court assigned by Akal Takht to investigate into the matter of missing 267 holies scroops of Guru Granth Sahib Ji has distanced/cut-off herself from the investigation.

She sent a letter to Akal Takht acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, expressing her inconvenience to spare time to probe the matter due to some family commitments.

It is important to note here that 267 saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have been found missing from the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee’s (SGPC) publishing house at GurudwaraRamsar Sahib, where those holy saroops are published and stored. The incident came to the forefront when assistant supervisor Kanwaljit Singh in SGPC’s publication department got retired this year in May.

Kanwaljit Singh claimed that he was pressured to issue holy saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji without making entries in the record books. He also said that more than 80 holy scroops got burnt in fire incident occurred in 2016 while the SGPC revealed damage of only 14.

However, the SGPC had refused these allegations and accusedKanwaljit Singh of negligence in his duties. But the SGPC’s accusation comes under suspicion when Kanwaljit Singh had agreed to pay the damages.

The SGPC requested Akal Takht to establish a probe panel comprising of Sikh judges to look into ‘the missing 267 saroops case’. Thus, Akal Takht Jathedar assigned Navita Singh as the main investigator and nominated Telangana High Court lawyer Ishar Singh to assist Navita in the investigation.

However, due to family reasons, Navita Singh asked for herself to quit from the panel. After she declared herself to be relieved from the panel, Jathedar made Ishar Singh the chief investigator to lead the probe. He also appointed another High Court lawyer Harpreet Kaur and Chartered Accountant Harleen Kaur, as assistants of Isharin the investigation.

Giani Harpreet Singh Said, “This will not hinder the probe which will be carried out fairly and impartially and completed within the stipulated time. Those found guilty in the probe report will not be spared.” 

However, the main complainant, activists of the Punjab Human Rights Organization (PHRO), a non-government rights advocacy group, and a section of the Sikh community expressed dissatisfaction and doubts over the fairness of the new probe panel constituted by SGPC. PRO investigator Sarabjit Singh Verka said, “The probe is mere an eyewash.”

“It was demanded that the probe be handed over to a retired judge. The SGPC functionaries are trying their best to influence the probe being carried out by Ishar Singh. The incumbent and former employees were grilled in the presence of officials whose role is under the scanner. The pieces of evidence are being tampered with,” he added.

Ishar Singh, along with his supporting staff, initiated the probe by taking possession of the records related to the ‘saroops’ from the publication department of the SGPC. He started the process of recording the statements of all the associates and investors.

The SGPC shifted the publication and binding wing officials and staff members, including Supervisors, Secretary, Additional Secretary, and Deputy Secretary so that the inquiry is not influenced.

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