High court orders verification of dera properties
Refusing to give any relief to several institutes run by Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda for operating their bank accounts, which have been frozen since the conviction of the sect head’s conviction in rape cases, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday directed court commissioner Anil Kumar Singh Panwar to verify the complete record and details about the dera and submit a report.
As per the orders, the details should include the date of dera’s established, its source of income, when sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh took over and whether the management of these institutes was a separate entity among other things.
A full bench comprising Justice Surya Kant, Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Avneesh Jhingan has passed these orders while hearing some applications filed by nine institutes associated with dera seeking directions to de-freeze their accounts. A similar application was also filed by followers of Shah Mastana, former head of Dera Sacha Sauda, seeking directions not to attach the properties which were originally built by the former dera head.
Refusing to give any relief, the bench made it clear that it would pass an order only after receiving report from the court commissioner on the issue. It also directed the Haryana government to provide all kinds of facilities and assistance to the court commissioner in carrying out the entire exercise.
In their application, the dera’s nine educational and medical institutions have submitted that freezing of the accounts has virtually halted their operations and adversely effected around 7,000 students, 1,000 staff members and patients being treated in the trust-run hospital.
It was further stated that even they were not able to run day to day affairs of these institutes, like paying salaries to employees and paying electricity bills among others. They have sought permission to operate their accounts, which were seized by the state government following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court.