Temple goes to court

2007-12-18 00:00

The interim president of the Shri Vishnu Temple in Pietermaritzburg, Bhairo Maharaj, has claimed in documents before the high court, that former president Dayal Harry Persad Nagasar was expelled from his position on August 7 as a result of “overwhelming evidence” of “discrepancies in the manner in which the financial affairs of the temple were being conducted”.

He also revealed that criminal charges have been instituted and that police are investigating.

“In short an amount of R10 000 was withdrawn with no explanation tendered to the members of the committee or the auditor as to why this had occurred, and a further amount of R7 000 had been withdrawn from the banking account of the temple during 2006 by the president under the pretext that it was required for payment to an electrician.

The payment was not immediately made, and only paid over to the electrician on July 23, 2007, when the auditors of the temple discovered that payment had not been made and raised this with the president.”

Maharaj said the treasurer, who is married to the president, resigned on July 4.

The allegations are contained in Maharaj’s replying affidavit in response to suggestions in court papers by prominent temple trustee Haripal Maikoo and council member Chan Bridgemohan that Nagasar was “surreptitiously” and irregularly expelled.

Maikoo and Bridgemohan have applied to the high court to set aside the election of new office bearers (including Maharaj) at a special general meeting held on September 8, which they allege was irregular.

Maikoo said in court documents that he was never informed of any resolution taken by the council to expel Nagasar nor shown documents in support thereof, to which he was entitled. In replying papers, Maharaj said he enjoys the support of all the respondents cited in the application, who include Kamleshnie Vather (now vice president).

He also claimed the support of “the majority of the members of the organisation”.

Maharaj said Maikoo is the “only trustee” who disagrees with the current status and appointment of members of executive of the temple.

“Unfortunately trustees have no constituted rights and are not involved in the running of the day-to-day affairs of the temple,” he said, adding that Maikoo had only attended three meetings since December 2006.

He also claimed Maikoo’s “allegiance” lay with Nagasar, and that he has attempted through the court application to have him reinstated.

Maikoo has denied the allegation that he seeks Nagasar’s reinstatement.

The dispute has been set down for trial on the opposed court roll in March.


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