Originally published Dated 1st April, 2009
History of Chandigarh Freemasons Hall, and Masonic Fraternity, Chandigarh-II.
Vide letter Dt 04.09.1957, W Bro Justice Shamsher Bahadur of District Grand Lodge of England & Wales applied for 4 kanals of land for construction of “Freemasons Hall”, Chandigarh. This request was forwarded by the estate officer to Government of Punjab and was accepted by the Government Punjab, Capital Project Chandigarh and approval was communicated to Estate Officer, Capital Project, Chandigarh vide memo no 14243-59 / IX / 1052 Dt 1st February 1960. Estate Officer communicated the allotment of plot for to Justice Shamsher Bahadur vide letter No 78 Dt 9-2-1960 as under;
“..request for allotment of 4 kanal of land for the construction of Freemasons Hall can be considered provided the Association agrees to pay the price at residential rates. If this is acceptable, kindly deposit a sum of Rs 1000.00 as earnest money so that Chief Architect and Chief Town Planner may be asked to suggest a suitable site measuring 4 Kanal. “
The allotment at residential rates were not acceptable. Representations were made to Governor & Chief Minister Punjab on the basis that plot of land was required for use of freemasons which are a ‘charitable’ and religious society. Accordingly an undertaking was sought that land will be used for freemasons Lodge. The final allotment letter No 3505 Dt 10.4.1970 issued by Estate Officer was issued in favor of “Freemasons Lodge” for the purpose of “Lodge Building”. It reads:-
Reference your letter No Nil, Dt 11.3.1970. A site measuring approx 2000 sq yards in sector 18-B is hereby allotted to “Secretary Freemasons Lodge For the purpose of Lodge Building i.e. Free masons Hall” at the following rate i.e. Rs 6 per sq yards for 1st acre and subsequently @ Rs 4 per sq yards.
3. The building constructed thereon shall be dedicated to LODGE PURPOSE and shall not remain sole property of the donor or to be converted by them later to any personal use.”
(As against the residential rate of Rs 36/- per sq yard. Land was allotted by Admn under Religious /cultural category at concessional rate of Rs 6/- per square yard.)
1. Last extensive renovation of building was done by KD Aggarwal in October 2005 at his personal cost of more than Rs 70,000/- at that time.
A. During the tenure of the then Chief Justice WB A B Saharya, a false attempt was made to for conveyance deed & the society registration. Membership was kept at Rs 5,000/-. (Rs 3000 for senior freemasons). There were more than 200 active members under GLI and another 200 under Grand Lodge of England & Wales. Sh CPS Sahni collected the fee @ Rs 5000 / 3000. According to him more than 80 persons had become members and had paid him total sum of more than Rs 3,60,000/-. No separate bank account was opened. After collecting money the matter was closed. Now there are only about 40 active freemasons under GLI many from Simla & 100 under GLEW.
B. CPS Sahni & V K Rampal got Rs 100,000/- from GLI in name of Masonic vocational training centre. Computers were called on rent for a day and by the morning after encashment of cheque all trace of Masonic vocational training centre had vanished. Only a plate exists which says about Masonic Vocational training center. Charity begins at home, it can only be assumed that on both the occasions CPS Sahni & V K Rampal had used Masonic funds on their wives.
2. After election of Justice Davinder Gupta as GMI, a formal get together was arranged at Chandigarh on 21.1.06. As WM of lodge 283, KD Aggarwal was told to pay for dinner which will be contributory on behalf of all Lodges. More than 100 freemasons got together from New Delhi, Yamuna Nagar, Ludhiana, Ambala, Simla etc. KD Aggarwal settled the Bill of Rs 28,000/- out of own pocket. Only Chandigarh lodge (Rs 2000), Kalka Lodge Rs 3000/-, contributed. Inspite of being WM, It was with difficulty that KD Aggarwal could get a cheque of Rs 5000 from lodge 283 from V K Rampal. There is still huge shortfall for dinner of Rs 18,000/-. V K Rampal alone used to operate Bank A/C of Lodge 283-Mountshivalik maintained at Pb State Co-op Bank sector 20, A/C No 20272 from 1991 to January 2008 and would never give any accounts. KD Aggarwal was only secretary who published lodge accounts in monthly lodge summons.
3. Time & again money was collected in name of conveyance deed and pocketed. KD Aggarwal loaned his own funds to Freemasons at Chandigarh for conveyance Deed (Rs 150000) and registration of Society and framing of bye laws (Rs 25000). The conveyance was registered on 7.11.2007 & Certificate of Registration of Society was received on 14.11.2007. Author had arranged the meeting Dt 25.8.2007 with RGMNI, Past RGMNI, Secretary RGLNI for the formation of Fraternity. Prior to said meeting KD Aggarwal constantly received calls from S Krishnan RGMNI regarding the afore said meetings. Considering that most of the present day freemasons are poor and themselves in most need for charity, Life membership fee was kept nominally at Rs 250 per member per lodge. In all only about 40-50 were able to pay this amount. The amount was deposited in the separate bank account No 398902011022865 with Union Bank of India, Sector 21C Chandigarh. R K Banta, Satish John and S P Bedi are the authorised signatories to operate said bank account. KD Aggarwal is not authorised signatory to bank account. Whenever there was not enough money to pay electricity & water charges or property tax then, KD Aggarwal would pay from his pocket / personal account.
C. In 2009-10 again, CPS Sahni and VK Rampal have received substantial amount from GLI name of society. We know where it will go.
D. VK Rampal is treasurer of lodge 61 but never paid dues of GMLI or RGMLNI. When its members were asked to pay dues they stated that VK Rampal gave them option of either paying Rs 600 as lodge dues or giving their vote to him. They opted for later. KD Aggarwal as WMM regularly paid dues of GMLI and RGMLNI and they are paid Dec 2007 to June 2009.
E. Masonic Polyclinic is paying Rs 100 per hour to Subash for working as water boy. Whereas Dr V K Rampal is paying Rs 9 per hour to his compounder in exchange of giving him freemasons Hall as rent free, water & electricity free to his staff.
F. Dr. VK Rampal had purchased a disputed house @ half the market rate. In lower court, DRT, & at Simla High Court he enjoyed free services from ‘brotherhood’ thus deriving pecuniary benefit of Freemasonry.
G. Brethren are aware of sale of Freemasons Hall, Kasuali which was paid by District Grand Lodge of England & Wales. One of the brethren involved therein was then AGM of India. He took away the original file including the original Conveyance Deed on the pretext of meeting with Advisor who was stated to be his class fellow. He never met the advisor and also did not return the file.
H. On 27.4.08, KD Aggarwal convened meeting of biggest Lodge at Chandigarh for the purpose of collective renovation of building. Brethren present therein stated that Ashwani Gupta never asked them for Building renovation but gave their wives gifts, free food/dinner. Whereas in exchange of Rs 250 I have not given their wives any gift or food/Dinners. Dr. VK Rampal said that laws of law should be amended & Chairman should give free food to wives in exchange for votes.
Members of Grand Lodge of England and wales were not allowed into Fraternity though they were as much freemasons of Chandigarh as anyone else. In 2008-09, KD Aggarwal realized that Freemasonry in general and Chandigarh Freemasonry in particular is not charitable but an organization where greed for power and money overrides humanitarian considerations. KD Aggarwal resigned from lodge 283 in May ‘08 and from Chairmanship of Freemasons Fraternity Chandigarh and all remaining lodges from November 1st 2009.