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Sikh leader found guilty of forgery in New Zealand

Wellington, Dec 13:  A Sikh leader in New Zealand was on Thursday found guilty of forging election documents in a bid to win in a local body poll three years ago.

Daljit Singh, a former Labour Party candidate, who was running for the Otara-Papatoetoe local board in Auckland council in 2010, was found guilty in the high court in Auckland of two charges of dealing with forged documents, media reported.

He, however, was acquitted on the remaining 18 electoral fraud charges of the total 20 he faced.

The jury of 11 Thursday afternoon, after deliberating for nearly five days, delivered the verdict.

Six other men involved in the scandal - Gurinder Atwal, Davinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Virender Singh, Paramjit Singh and Malkeet Singh - were also found guilty, but on fewer counts.

Another accused, Davinder Singh, was found not guilty.

Justice Mark Woolford freed all the accused on bail until sentencing in February, 2014.

The court heard that Daljit Singh falsely changed a large number of people's addresses on the Electoral Enrollment Centre's website so that they came within the boundary of his Otara-Papatoetoe Local board.

Most of the people's addresses Daljit Singh changed were Sikhs with the surname Singh.

The court heard that the enrolment centre contacted the police when it noticed a large number of people downloaded form from computers that had the same IP addresses.

"The vast majority of those whose addresses were changed were unaware it was happening," Fairfax media quoted prosecutor Robin McCoubrey as telling the court.

Daljit Singh is a real estate agent and senior member of the Supreme Sikh Council in New Zealand.

Update: 13-December-2013