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Sikh Priest jailed for seven years !

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Sikh priest jailed for seven years

Nabanita Sircar

London,U.K. September 2, 2005

A Sikh priest has been jailed for seven years for helping people enter Britain illegally. Jaswant Singh Kalsi, 47, led prayers at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Temple in Rugby, between November 2003 and December 2004. He admitted 13 counts of assisting unlawful immigration into the UK from March to December 2004, at the Warwick Crown Court on Thursday.

He had been charging people between £200 and £700 for his help in entering the UK, and was arrested after the temple committee discovered his activities and reported to the police. But Judge Marten Coates told him the true extent of his deception was far greater than just the 13 counts Kalsi admitted.

He told Kalsi: "Those identify the instances when you have successfully facilitated the unlawful entry into the United Kingdom of people from India. The indictment does not cover the full extent of your criminality because many applications were unsuccessful."

During an earlier hearing, the court heard how Kalsi had created a second fictitious temple called the Guru Nanak Sikh Durbar Mission at his home address. Using that name, he encouraged people in India to apply to the British High Commission for visas to visit the UK for religious education or to work as a priest. He then used the two temples to sponsor applications.

His crimes were discovered after the temple committee terminated his services because he was going to India too often. When they went to his house they found paperwork falsely showing Kalsi to be their president. They also discovered £7,000 in currencies, a printing kit with the real and the bogus temple addresses and letters from them supporting visa applications.

Delivering the prison sentence Judge Coates told him: "In my judgment yours was a well thought-out, well planned and sophisticated operation which you engaged in for profit. It was an operation, which you conducted by abusing your position as a priest. I am told, and I am not surprised, that your activities have offended the community which took you in."

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