Shapps to face questions at India event on councillor’s conduct

Grant Shapps, the chairman of the Conservative party, is to be quizzed in Croydon tonight about the conduct of Councillor Jeet Bains, who has been at the centre of heated disputes at a local Sikh temple that has seen the police called to attend twice in a couple of months.

Grant Shapps: will find out tonight exactly what the Conservative party has been doing in Croydon

Grant Shapps: will find out tonight exactly what the Conservative party has been doing in Croydon

Shapps, or “Michael Green”, is attending an exclusive, invitation-only reception for the “Conservative Friends of India”, organised by the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, Gavin Barwell, which is being staged at the Croham Road clubhouse of a private school’s old boys’ club.

Among the invitees will be Parmjit Palaha, the former president of the Croydon Gurdwara, or temple, who is among a growing number of those with some serious questions about the conduct of its current chairman, Bains.

Bains, who is expected to be among the guests tonight, has been accused of making racist and sexist comments to members of the Gurdwara’s congregation, and of intimidatory and bullying conduct.

Bains has denied any such comments, though his organisation of the Gurdwara has been reported to the Charity Commission after failing to hold annual meetings for five years, or filing approved accounts, as charitable status requires.

Palaha and his supporters will be asking Shapps to get the Conservative party to look into how the Gurdwara’s management under a senior member of his party, Coulsdon councillor Bains, has managed to become involved in a half-million-pound property purchase without approval from the temple’s members.

Jeet Bains: conduct in question

Jeet Bains: conduct in question

Police had to attend the Gurdwara, in West Croydon, earlier this month when there was a potentially violent disturbance when Bains and his supporters sought to exclude some temple members from attending a general meeting – the first staged for more than five years. There has been a similar police call-out to the Gurdwara at the end of August.

In his letter of invitation to this evening’s event, sent to key members of the Asian community, Barwell wrote: “As the Member of Parliament for central Croydon, I am conscious of the huge contribution the British Indian community makes to our town. I want to build stronger relationships between that community and the Conservative Party. I believe we share many of the same values – a belief in the central importance of the family; of the role that business – small and large – can play in sustaining the recovery; in reward for hard work and in the importance of education.”

Barwell did not mention a mutual respect for upholding law and order. That must surely be an oversight.

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