Days after AAP fielded senior advocate H S Phoolka from the crucial Ludhiana seat, SGPC today claimed that the outfit had paid Rs 42 lakh as legal fees to a panel of five lawyers recommended by him to contest the cases of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Phoolka, who will give a tough fight to Congress and SAD on the seat, denied the charges. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar today said in a statement,”the SGPC had passed two resolutions in April and August 2010 on the basis of a proposal made by Phoolka.”
“The resolutions resolved to pay the fee of a panel of five lawyers recommended by Phoolka,” he said. Makkar said the lawyers were tasked with representing the victims of the 1984 anti Sikh riots in different courts in Delhi.
He said the SGPC paid the fee of the advocates recommended by Phoolka as and when the bills were raised.
“The SGPC has never monitored the status of the various cases as this was left to Phoolka”, the SGPC president said adding,”Phoolka on his part has never given us any status report of the various cases”.
Reacting to the statement of Makkar, Phoolka vehemently denied the allegations saying that this panel of five lawyers was formed by SGPC to handle Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler cases.
None of these five advocates were his juniors, since they have their own established practice, he said.
These cases have six rounds in High Court and Supreme Court, and in these 18 cases he did not charge any fee at all from SGPC.
The controversy erupted after Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal recently alleged that Phoolka took hefty amounts for fighting cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims.
The SGPC president also claimed that the body was vigorously following the cases of the riot victims and it was wrong on the part of Phoolka to make it appear as if he was the “lone champion” of the victims.
Makkar said after eight victims lost their cases in the trial court, the SGPC filed the review petition on behalf of all the victims in the high court.
He said the SGPC had incurred a cost of Rs 32.55 lakh in filing and contesting the review petitions.
“The SGPC had fulfilled its responsibility as the apex institution representing the Sikhs worldwide. It is unfortunate that Phoolka rode on our backs and is now making political capital out of what is essentially a human tragedy,” Makkar said.