CPS brings no charges in burial committee controversy

CPS brings no charges in burial committee controversy

THE Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to bring charges against the men behind the Muslim Mosque Burial Committee for failing to maintain a legally required burial register.

Despite complaints being raised by former Conservative councillor Khizar Iqbal in the spring of 2012, it has taken until now for the police and CPS to review the case.

In an email to former Dewsbury South member Mr Iqbal, Det Insp James Griffiths explains that because the Burial Act is a ‘summary offence’ only the past six months of records could be examined.

“It is fairly safe to say that having examined recent records, they have been fairly comprehensive for some years,” wrote DI Griffiths.

He added that financial irregularities including non-payment of rent to Kirklees Council remained a civil matter not suitable for criminal proceedings being bought.

The two men responsible for running the Muslim Burial business since 1987, Labour councillor Abdul Patel, pictured here, and former Batley Labour member Ghulam Maniyar, were given months by Kirklees Council to produce records which they claimed at the time were unavailable because they were ‘being computerised’.

At the time of Mr Iqbal’s complaints Mr Maniyar told The Press there were ‘about 200 bodies’ in the private burial ground next to Dewsbury’s main cemetery.

In fact there were over 400 amid complaints by local families that deceased relatives had been ‘lost’ with no record of where they had been laid to rest.

It is believed that Patel and Maniyar came to a repayment agreement with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over monies owed on their estimated £800,000 of income during the time they have been running the burial plot.

During a meeting with mosque elders from across the district, the pair revealed they had over £300,000 in a bank account.

Meanwhile Kirklees Council, which estimated the men had simply ignored agreed rent increases which could have left Council Tax payers up to £50,000 out of pocket, has still not recouped any of the money.

When asked for a response on the current state of their negotiations with the committee, Martin Dearnley, Kirklees Council’s head of audit and risk, wrote in an email: “The council and the Muslim Mosque Burial Committee have agreed a sum in settlement.

“As this constitutes a formal lease transaction, this requires legal documentation.

“The council’s solicitors are on the verge of completing the draft documentation.

“Payment will be made by the trustees on execution of the document ... the value of settlement is confidential between the parties at the present.”

Khizar Iqbal commented: “I am extremely disappointed, but not surprised by the police’s response. This is another whitewash – I provided substantial evidence for the police.

“In my opinion, the reluctance of the police to enforce the law here is due to ‘cultural sensitivities’ and political correctness.

“It’s very, very sad and sets a dangerous precedent.

“It’s not over yet, and I reserve my right to take this matter further with the IPCC and the Home Secretary.”

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