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Controversial Fake Email Causes Grief At Guru Nanak Gurdwara, BC Surrey, Canada. But Gurdwara OK Financially


1947-2014 (Archived)
Fake Email Causes Grief at Guru Nanak Temple, BC Surrey, Canada

But Guru Nanak OK financially

It's probably a good thing that the trucking industry is still a bit slow right now because Surrey trucker Balwant Singh Gill has his hands momentarily on another steering wheel.He's past president of the 32,000-member Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara (Temple) on 120th Street in Surrey and, since his return from a four-week family visit to India in January, he's been trying to find out who altered a widely circulated email attachment that purportedly showed that Gill's long-serving Moderate Group slate of officers had authorized a $500,000 donation to the Cloverdale Sikh Society.

The attachment listed this donation as one of a number of contributions the Guru Nanak Gurdwara had reported to the Canada Revenue Agency during 2008. It had been emailed to many local community and ethnic newspapers and radio stations.

It was a fake.

The authentic number on the Canada Revenue Agency's web document that lists the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society's qualifying donations for 2008 shows that the non-profit group actually donated $50,000 to the Cloverdale Sikh Society.

A member of the Cloverdale Sikh Society confirms that figure while Gill and current Guru Nanak society president Bikramjit Singh Sandhar also say this is the correct amount.

Although the email author's identity is unknown, in Gill's opinion the deed may have been done to place him and the temple's previous slate of officers in a bad light and, perhaps, discourage them from running again when the Guru Nanak holds its next election three years from now.

"Some of the community newspapers wrote some very nasty things about me and I'm consulting a lawyer," Gill told me Monday.

As you've probably guessed, last fall's Nov. 15 Guru Nanak Gurdwara election was a particularly spirited one in which Sandhar's Sikh Youth slate ousted Gill's Moderate Group slate, which had held office since 1996.

It was, in fact, a re-vote of the 2008 election that had been subsequently challenged in court. But rather than go to trial, the two sides opted to hold a second vote.

One of the significant campaign issues was whether or not the society was running a deficit and this may have led someone to inflate the size of donations during the Moderate Group's time in office. That, however, is only speculation.

Regardless, Gill also showed me Monday that under the society bylaws, an executive can't unilaterally donate more than $100,000 to charities without a special vote and majority approval from the membership.

As for whether he'll run again during the next election, Gill says that's a decision he'll make somewhere down the road. "It's too early to make that decision now," he notes.

For his part, Sandhar says his group doesn't know the email's origins and first learned of it through local media. But a new quarterly financial report will be published soon, he adds, while both sides say they've elected not to ask for an RCMP investigation.

The two sides also agree that, despite some debt, the society is on a solid financial footing.

That's a good thing because Guru Nanak does significant charity work throughout the community.


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