Sunday, June 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Health Officer, peon held on bribe charge
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has arrested a District Health Officer (DHO) and his peon and booked two Food Inspectors on the charges of taking bribe from a pickle factory owner in order to clear some samples of their products.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr R.P.S Bajwa, SP (Vigilance), said Health Officer Birinder Pal Singh, Inspectors Jatinder Singh and Manoj Khosla and peon Malkiat Singh used to take bribes from industrialists, shopkeepers and other persons, who required sample clearing certificates from the Health Department.

The Vigilance Bureau also released a list of eight properties belonging to Birinder Pal Singh. The value of his total assets have been estimated to be worth several crores.

Mr Bajwa claimed that the officer operated in connivance with the Inspectors and the peon. While the Inspectors struck the deal, the peon used to collect the amount. In one such case, Ms Kamlesh Kumari, one of the owners of K K Fruit Products in Shimla Puri, informed the Vigilance Bureau that the accused had come to her factory and taken some samples on May 22.

They were told to meet the (DHO) next day. The DHO allegedly told them to pay Rs 15,000 in order to get the samples cleared. The deal was struck for Rs 10,000. The peon collected Rs 1,000 from Ms Kamlesh Kumari on May 25. He was called to receive the remaining amount late last evening and was caught red-handed by the Vigilance sleuths.

The Vigilance teams then raided the house of Birinder Pal Singh and arrested him. The Vigilance team led by DSP Sarup Singh Chauhan conducted the raids. Houses of the two Food Inspectors were also raided but they could not be arrested as they were not present at the time of the raid.


No move to abolish NPA: Health Director
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 1
A deputation of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) led by its president, Dr Hardeep Singh, and general secretary, Dr Surinder Singla, held a meeting with Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health and Family Welfare, yesterday. This was stated in a press note issued here today by Dr Ajay Bagga, publicity secretary of the association.

The deputation apprised the Director of the resentment prevailing among government doctors over the proposed move of the state government to abolish the non-practising allowance (NPA) and terminate the services of 785 doctors recruited in the Punjab Civil Medical and Punjab Civil Dental Services during the tenure of Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

The Director said there was no move as such to abolish the NPA of government doctors. However he stated that the government would like to abolish the NPA of doctors working in civil hospitals on an experlimental basis, in lieu of which doctors would be allowed to examine patients privately in the hospitals for a specified period.

Dr Bagga said the association rejected this proposal as it would lead to “commercialisation” of health services. The Director assured the representatives of the association that he would convey their views to the state government on the issue of termination of doctors recruited by Mr Sidhu.

The association urged the Director to take strict action against those doctors who were doing private practice after duty hours.


PCMS doctors justify NPA
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar May 31
The issue of the withdrawal of “non- practicing allowance” (NPA) of doctors has drawn flak from the medical fraternity.

The PCMS Doctors Association states that the allowance payable to the medical fraternity is in line with the arduous nature of their job and should not be linked with the private practices. They feel that the proposal is merely a ploy by the bureaucracy to reduce their pay scales which are equivalent and sometimes higher than their bureaucratic counterparts.

About 4200 PCMS and 500 medical teachers of the state will be affected by the proposed cut which is 25 per cent of their pay scales. The doctors take the plea that the allowance is paid to them due to the special nature of their profession. They have to be on call duty for 24 hours a day throughout the year without any holidays on festivals. Besides they have to attend to medical emergencies, post-mortem examinations, medico-legal matters. They run a risk of hazardous infections during their duties. In addition to that they are required to update their knowledge for which they are not paid by the government.

In such a scenario, the withdrawal of the NPA, will only encourage alternative means to supplement their pays.

They have urged the authorities concerned to formulate a plan to delink private practice. They have welcomed the enforcement of discipline in hospitals and dispensaries and action against doctors for the negligence of their duties and corrupt practices.

MANSA: The local PCMS Doctors Association has condemned the move to abolish the NPA.

The association will be forced to go on an agitation, if the NPA is withdrawn, said Dr Romesh Katodia and Dr Naresh Bansal, president and secretary, respectively, of the association. They condemned the move of the government to remove 850 doctors selected during the tenure of Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu without any investigations.

PCMSA stir from June 3
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
The Punjab Civil and Medical Services (PCMS) Association today announced to launch statewide agitation from June 3 if the state government dispensed with the services of 850 PCMS and Dental doctors appointed during the tenure of PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.

PCMS Association leaders M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjeet Singh said the association would welcome action against the guilty, but would hold rallies at block level health centres, subdivision and district hospitals.

The association described as unreasonable wholesale removal of employees selected in different batches, at different times and under different modes of screening and interview criteria during the past five years.

The leaders said all PCMS and Dental doctors were selected during the first two years of Sidhu’s tenure and had already completed probationary periods and even confirmed by the Health Department. It said similarly lecturers and other employees stood confirmed after the completion of probationary period.

The association in a representation to the Chief Minister also alleged that certain senior officers in the government were “misguiding the government on the issue of financial burden of Non-Practising Allowance given to in service doctors by projecting it as Rs 80 crore which the association said was ‘’highly exaggerated and mischevious’’.


Doctors urge govt to reconsider decision
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 1
The PCMS Association, batch 1997-98, at a meeting held here today condemned the decision of the Punjab Government to dispense with the services of doctors selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission during the tenure of its Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

They claimed that they were selected purely on merit and were being punished by the state government without any fault on their part. They said they had been working in hospitals and dispensaries in the rural areas for the past three years.

They described the decision of the state government to sack them as anti-people and said it would deprive the ruralites of basic medical facilities. They urged the state government to reconsider its decision lest they would launch a statewide struggle. They said the decision would affect more than 850 doctors of the state.


PPSC scam: forum to ensure fair probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
In less than 24 hours after a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that Common Cause Forum — a social organisation — had the right to seek information in the PPSC recruitment scandal, its members today held a press conference to say that they would now work towards ensuring that the investigation did not get derailed because of the differences between the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and the Intelligence Wing of the Punjab Police.

Addressing the media, the Chairman, Mr Atul P. Bhardwaj, said: “If required, we will not hesitate in filing another writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard to ensure that the trial is not conducted in an unfair manner because of the differences”.

He added that the Forum President-cum-Coordinator, Mr Charanjit Sharma, would visit the districts all over the state from June 9 to mobilise public support in their battle against corruption. Mr Bhardwaj further claimed that they were being approached by some of the candidates who had taken the examinations conducted by the Haryana Public Service Commission.

“We have asked them bring evidence so that we can consider the filing of a petition in the High Court in this regard also,” he asserted. “We are also closely looking at the recommendations made by the Subordinate Staff Selection Board”.

The Forum, it may be recalled, had earlier given directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to hold the investigation of the case relating to PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu in a “transparent manner”.

They had also demanded that the progress of the investigation must be made public from time to time to inspire confidence. Counsel for the petitioner had added that the forum had moved several applications before the investigating agency for the supply of two FIRs, besides other information relating to the investigation of the case, including the details of the persons arrested till date. He had added that no orders were, however, passed. 


PPSC chief’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1,
The bail application of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Chairman, Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), was today rejected by Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, in a case related to the PPSC recruitment scam. The Judge also extended his judicial remand till June 15.

Sidhu’s bail application was rejected on the grounds that he could be kept under detention for 90 days after the inclusion of Sections 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC on May 21 by the Vigilance Bureau in the corruption case registered against him.


Vigilance officer in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
The Vigilance Bureau arrested Mr Ravinder Kumar Jain, Joint Manager (Vigilance), and Mr Vinod Kumar, Assistant Manager (Quality Control) of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), for their alleged involvement in taking bribes from various rice mill owners late last evening. Ms Manjot Kaur, Judicial Magistrate, remanded them to police custody till tomorrow when they were produced before her this afternoon.

Mr Jain and Mr Vinod Kumar were touring this region to check godowns where the FCI had stored foodgrains. During the checking, both allegedly took bribe from rice mill owners.

A cross section of the employees of the FCI, while reacting to the incident, said if the case was investigated properly, big fish, which had been eating into the department’s money, would be exposed. They said senior FCI officials had amassed huge wealth and erected bungalows and other infrastructure worth crores.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda Range, in a press note issued here today, said a tip-off was received by the bureau that Mr Jain was here on an official tour to check the godowns of the FCI in the region and would take huge amounts as bribe through his conduit, Mr Vinod Kumar, from rice mill owners. He said a special police party was sent to nab him red-handed.

Mr Grewal said after checking the godowns at Bhikhi (Mansa) the suspects took a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from rice mill owners. Both had planned to collect huge amounts from rice mill owners at Goniana Mandi, Maur Mandi and some other areas of the region.

He said the suspects were arrested at a naka at Bajakhana village and Mr Vinod Kumar had admitted that he had kept Rs 1.8 lakh taken as bribe from rice mill owners at his Bathinda residence.

Mr Grewal said the money was recovered in the presence of Mr Sandhura Singh, Executive Magistrate, Bathinda, from the residence of Mr Vinod Kumar.


14 Cong men chosen Zila Parishad members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said today that 62 block samitis and 14 Zila Parishad members had been declared elected unopposed. Almost all these members belonged to the Congress. Fourteen of them had been elected unopposed in Ferozepore district and 26 in Sangrur district.

On the other side, Akali leaders say that it was not an election but a fraud being committed by the Congress in the state. They alleged the officers concerned were openly supporting the Congress candidates. At a number of places, the nomination papers of Akali candidates have been rejected on flimsy grounds. The Akalis are reported to have boycotted elections at a number of places, protesting against the highhandedness and partisan role of the officers concerned. Mrs Bhattal said there was no truth in such reports. Elections were being held in a free and fair manner and at no place had any wrong been committed. Polling would be held on June 9 and counting the next day. Candidates were allotted symbols today.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, a former Akali minister, said although the Congress was using official machinery to “terrorise” Akali candidates, Akali candidates would show better performance than the Congress. The party had received a large number of complaints pertaining to the use of the police to pressure Akali candidates into withdrawing their nomination papers at certain places. The Congress was out to reduce these elections to a farce.


3 ZP candidates elected unopposed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 1
Three candidates Ms Ravinder Kaur, an Independent from Saila Khurd zone, Mr Gian Chand, Congress candidate from Hardo Khanpur zone and Ms Surjit kaur, Congress candidate from Panam zone, were today elected unopposed for the local Zila Parishad. This was stated by Mr Paramjit, Returning Officer for Zila Parishad and Panchayat poll.

He said that of 66 candidates for 21 zones of Zila Parishad, nomination papers of two had been rejected during scrutiny.


Akalis to boycott ZP poll
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 1
Thirteen Congress nominees, including a zila parishad member, withdrew from the Tarn Taran block samiti contest by openly revolting against the eleventh-hour changes of certain nominations by the party high command. On the other hand, 15 Akali candidates withdrew their papers in protest against the rejection of some of the nominees at the behest of a Congress minister, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, and decided to boycott the elections.

The last-minute changes of authority letters by the party high command has brought Mr Gurinder Singh Kairon, who unsuccessfully contested the previous Assembly elections on the Congress ticket from Tarn Taran, and his elder brother, Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, a former Congress member of Parliament, at loggerheads. Mr Gurinder Singh Kairon alleged that some of the confidants of Mr Harmit Singh, an Independent MLA (he defeated Mr Gurinder Kairon in the previous Assembly elections from Tarn Taran) succeeded in securing the Congress ticket through his brother (Mr Surinder Kairon). He announced that he and other senior Congress leaders would not allow the re-entry of Mr Surinder Singh Kairon into the Congress.

Senior Congress leaders, including Mr Bhagwant Singh Jhabal, vice-president, District Congress Committee (DCC), Mr Gurminder Singh Ratoul, General Secretary (DCC), Mr Gyan Singh Deo, block president, and Mr Sucha Singh Jodhpur, said they would shortly meet Capt Amarinder Singh against the move of Mr Harmit Singh and Mr Surinder Singh Kairon to join the Congress.

Among the Congress nominees who withdrew from the contest were Bibi Narinder Kaur Bhullar (candidate for zila parishad), Mukhtiar Singh, Satnam Singh Buggey, Harbhajan Singh Alawalpura, Angrej Singh, Pritam Singh, Kailasho, Surinder Kaur, Amrik Kaur, Nandpal Sood, Harjinder Singh Sandhu and Satnam Singh.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, Mr Virsa Singh Valtoha, a senior Akali leader, alleged that Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister, got papers of many Akali candidates rejected in the Valtoha block, following which 15 Akali nominees and their covering candidates withdrew from the contest today in protest. He said the Akalis would boycott the panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections.


Irregularities in nominations alleged
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 1
Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, a former Revenue Minister and SAD in charge of the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections in the district, while talking to newspersons here yesterday said the Congress government had resorted to irregularities in the nominations of those from the Opposition party.

He alleged that the nomination papers of SAD candidates from Sekhwan, Deriwal, Daroga and Bhaini Banger were rejected by removing papers from the official applications of the nominees.

Mr Sekhwan alleged that voters lists were not displayed by the officials concerned till May 27 and later when these were displayed it was found that irregularities had been committed while preparing these.

9 candidates withdraw nominations
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 1
Nine candidates who had filed their nominations for the Zila Parishad and 32 candidates for the Block Samiti elections withdrew their candidatures here today.

With this only six candidates have been left in the fray for three zones of Zila Parishad, while 43 candidate would try their luck for 20 zones of Block Samiti on June 9.

For the Zila Parishad elections, Mr Kuljit Singh Randhawa, a Congress candidate, will face Mr Raghubir Singh of SAD for Bhankharpur zone; Ms Baljit Kaur of the Congress will contest against Ms Kusum Lata of SAD for Mubarikpur zone; while Mr Harmesh Batauli of the Congress will fight from Lalru zone against Mr Jagtar Singh Ratti of SAD.

While SAD has fielded party candidates from all 20 zones of Block Samiti, the Congress has 18 candidates.

There would be two triangular contests among the Congress, SAD and BSP candidates in two zones — Amlala and Badana — while an Independent candidate (Congress dissident) would replace a BSP candidate in the third contest for Chaundheri zone.

The Returning Officer and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhindsa, cancelled the candidatures of nine candidates during scrutiny on Friday.

The candidates whose nominations were cancelled include Ms Neelam from Dapper, Mr Som Chand from Lalru, Ms Chhinder Kaur of Dapper, Mr Jagdish Singh from Samgauli, Ms Nirmla Devi from Pandwala, Ms Gurmit Kaur from Dapper, Ms Lajwanti Devi from Lalru Mandi, Ms Kulwant Kaur of Pandwala and Mr Rangu Ram from Handesra areas.

Ms Baljit Kaur, a former Chairman of the Block Samiti, filed her nomination as an Independent candidate. She had contested the elections on the Congress ticket in 1994, but was not given the party ticket this time.


Paswan backs Narayanan
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, June 1
The Lok Janshakti Party will support Mr K.R. Narayanan in the presidential poll if he contests for a second term. This was stated by Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, President of the party, while talking to mediapersons here today. He was on his way to Dehra Gopipur in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh where he was to address a rally.

He said Mr Narayanan was the most suitable candidate for the post of President in the prevailing circumstances. Moreover, he had performed well in his present term.

DHARAMSALA: Mr Paswan on Saturday criticised the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, for lowering the dignity of the offices of the Prime Minister and the President by raising an unnecessary controversy over giving a second term to Mr Narayanan.

Talking to mediapersons at Dehra, 56 km from here, Mr Paswan said it was unfortunate that when entire Opposition had supported the Prime Minister on the issue of cross-border terrorism, the BJP leadership was again dividing the country on the issue of presidential candidate.

Later, addressing a well-attended rally organised by the Himachal unit of the party, before flagging off the “nyaya rath yatra” from Dehra, Mr Paswan said he had always worked for the welfare of the downtrodden.


ADGP dilly-dallies over house vacation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
An Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) has been unauthorisedly occupying a house allotted to his junior for the past six months. The latter, a Commandant in the Indian Reserve Battalion, is facing the prospect of paying the penal rent, besides the cancellation of the allotment done in his name.

Mr R.S. Chalia, presently posted as ADGP, Administration, at Chandigarh, has continued to stay in the house allotted to Commandant Jagdish Kumar. Mr Chalia, who had been earlier staying in the house as the Inspector-General of Police, IRB, was transferred a year ago but continues to retain the house.

The Estate Office recently served a notice on Mr Jagdish Kumar, accusing him of subletting the house — No. 10 - C, Bhupindra Road — to the ADGP, saying that it was a clear case of violation of the terms and conditions under which the house was allotted to him.

The Estate Officer has asked the Commandant to get the house vacated immediately, failing which he or the person in its unauthorised occupation would be liable to pay twice the market rent of Rs 8,100 per month with effect from December last year, adding that the matter would be referred to the House Allotment Committee for the cancellation of his allotment.

Mr Jagdish Kumar, in a representation to the Estate Office, said the penal rent should be charged from the ADGP because he had not wilfully given the latter the occupation of the house. In his representation, the Commandant said after the house was allotted to him, he was told by the ADGP that he could keep his luggage in two rooms of the house and that he (ADGP) would vacate the house in a few days.

The Commandant said when he reached the house after some days with his luggage he was told that his presence would be an invasion of the privacy of the ADGP, adding that the latter again promised to vacate the house within a few days.

In his representation to the Estate Office, Mr Jagdish Kumar said the ADGP did not move out despite repeated requests.

Mr Jagdish Kumar pleaded to the Estate Office to get him the possession of the house at the earliest as the allotment stood in his name. He has also made it clear that he should not be made liable to pay the penal rent as the ADGP is still occupying it.

The ADGP, when contacted a week ago first said it was a “very small issue”. However, when his attention was drawn to the letters written by the Estate Office on the issue and the Commandant’s reply he said he had already shifted his belongings to Panchkula and his luggage remained in only one room, which he would vacate in a week’s time. “You can conduct a survey in a week’s time”, he added.

However, it was learnt today that Mr Chalia continues to occupy the house, which is completely furnished with airconditioners, and no luggage has been shifted from it. 


SAD candidate attacked, hurt
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
A Shiromani Akal Dal zila parishad election candidate and a relative of former minister Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur were injured in an attack when they were going to their native village along with members of their family, near here, this evening.

Avtar Singh, who is sarpanch of Harpalpur village, was attacked after their car was forced to stop between Mehmatpur and Raipur villages by three other vehicles, including two gypsies, according to him. The victim, who is at present admitted in Government Rajindra Hospital, here, with fractures on his left leg and right hand, said the assailants had fired in the air to make them stop their vehicle.

He said they were pulled out of the car and hit with gun barrels and other weapons. He said Hardev Singh, a panch of Harpalpur village who was travelling with him, was hit above the eye with a gun barrel. The women — Gurdev Kaur and Devinder Kaur — who were travelling with them were also hit and forced to remain in the vehicle.

Avtar has alleged that the assailants were led by Harwinder Singh Harpalpur, nephew and personal assistant of senior Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He alleged that the other assailants were Balwinder Bakhu, Nachhattar Singh, Ram Murti and Amarjit Singh.


Indira Vikas Patra scam: 1 held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
The district police authorities today achieved a major success when they arrested a businessman turned criminal, Dilbhajan Singh, also known as Natwar Lal of Punjab, for his alleged involvement in cases pretaining to rape and smuggling of narcotics.

Dilbhajan Singh, who had committed the Indira Vikas Patra scam worth Rs 300 crore along with one Naresh Kapoor, was arrested by the Jalandhar police few years ago.

He withdrew money from a Chandigarh-based bank by using forged signatures of an account holder, took loans from different banks on the basis of stolen Indira Vikas Patras and tried to kill a close kin. He was arrested by the police today in connection with a rape case registered against him in the city police station on the complaint of a former employee of his.

Dilbhajan Singh, who owned an automobile agency here a few years ago, repeatedly raped one of his employees and later managed to plant opium on the father of the victim when he (father) refused to marry off the victim to the accused. Dilbhajan Singh was also creating hurdles in the matrimonial alliance of the victim as he had taken objectionable photographs and had been showing these to the prospective bridegrooms.

Police sources said Dilbhajan Singh had committed frauds on various financial institutions and banks. He had taken loans worth crores of rupees from different banks by putting forged stamps on the stolen Indira Vikas Patras. He stole the Indira Vikas Patras from a train stationed at Delhi when these were being transported to Patna from Government Press, Nasik, in three compartments. A case under Sections 380, 411, 467, and 120-B was registered against him and he had been facing a CBI probe on this count.

He was also suspected to be involved in the mysterious disappearance of his servant Mohinder a few years ago. The servant has not been traced so far. Though the wife of Mohinder lodged a complaint against Dilbhajan Singh, she withdrew it after some time under mysterious circumstances.

Sources added that during the previous SAD-BJP combine government he kept evading police action in different cases due to political connections. He tried to evade police action this time also by using political influence but no local level Congress leader came to his help.

He was booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC at the police station, Sector 3, Chandigarh, for withdrawing money from a bank after forging the signatures of an account holder. A Dehradun-based girl, with whom he was allegedly involved in affairs, has also complained against him.

Police sources said investigations were going on and it was expected that some disclosures would be made by Dilbhajan Singh.


Gesture for wards of Kargil martyrs
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
To provide a helping hand to families of those soldiers who attained martyrdom during the Kargil war, the local Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, an 116-year-old educational institute, has decided to reserve five seats for their wards, and provide them with education free of cost upto the graduation level.

Talking to reporters here today, its Principal, Dr Rita Bawa, said as a first step towards helping the families of the martyrs, the management of the college had earmarked Rs 1 lakh for imparting education free of cost to their wards, who would be admitted during the current academic session to 10+1 level on the first-come-first-serve basis.

“These students will be provided with food and hostel facilities free of cost. Besides, special training in computer applications would be imparted to them,” Dr Bawa said, adding that these students would be given education free of cost up to graduation level provided they did not fail in any class.

She said they were contemplating a comprehensive plan for the introduction of special courses for the overall personality development of girl students, particularly those hailing from rural areas, which was necessary in the changing world scenario.

A special month-long training programme is underway on the college campus during holidays to improve learning skills of the students, most of them belonging to the rural areas of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahar and Hoshiarpur. “Since most of these students had done their matriculation with Punjabi or Hindi as a medium, we have decided to improve their ability in written and spoken English through this programme to make them understand these subjects like their urban peers. As many as160 newly admitted students had been selected for the programme,” she added.


Kewal Singh’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, June 1
The judicial remand of Giani Kewal Singh, a former Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib and one of the accused in the dowry death case of his daughter-in-law, was today extended till June 13 by Mr Kurnesh Kakkar, Judicial Magistrate (First Class).

Giani Kewal Singh surrendered in the court of Mr Kakkar on May 9 after he failed to secure anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court, while his close relative, Jaginder Kaur, surrendered two days ago.

Baljinder Singh, son of Giani Kewal Singh, surrendered in the court of Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate Harsh Mehta on March 7.

Giani Kewal Singh was booked in a criminal case along with Baljinder Singh and Joginder Kaur under Sections 304-B and 34 in connection with the death of his daughter-in-law, Sharnjit Kaur, on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Sharnjit Kaur, who was married to Baljinder Singh in 1996, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in 1997. Her body was fished out from the sarovar of Likhan Sar gurdwara in front of the official residence of Giani Kewal Singh in the Takht Sri Damdama Sahib complex.


Plea to exempt privilege passes from income tax
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, June 1
The Indian Railways Technical Supervisors Association (IRTSA) Rail Coach Factory unit, held its general body meeting at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Institute here. It was attended by supervisory cadre engineers. Mr Harchandan Singh, general secretary of the IRTSA, was the chief guest.

Mr Rajpal Singh, treasurer of the IRTSA RCF unit, presented accounts of the association of 2001. Mr Brij Mohan, secretary of the RCF unit of the association, gave a resume of the achievements of the unit. He criticised the Anomalies Committee for not submitting its report even after a lapse of four-and-a-half years.

He demanded that Income Tax on privilege passes and PTOs should not be levied. The RCF Managers and RCF Women Welfare Education Society sought the upgradation of RCF school and demanded its affiliation with the Punjab School Education Board. 


Residents resist
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
For the fourth time residents of the local Parasram Nagar tried to disrupt the shifting of the Subdivisional office of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from their area to other place.

The residents today held a rally and blocked the way of tractor-trailer in which furniture, files and other official documents were being loaded.


263 cases settled at lok adalat
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
As many as 263 cases were disposed of and a sum of Rs 3.03 crore was awarded as compensation in various cases pertaining to matrimonial disputes and the Negotiable Instruments Act during the third special lok adalat organised at the Judicial Complex here today.

The Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority, Mr H.P.S. Mahal, visited 13 Benches constituted for the purpose and participated in the proceedings. Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Mahal said 2,288 lok adalats had been organised throughout the state since 1996.


Helpline for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
The Sadhu Basant Community Support Group has launched the Aadhar Helpline for senior citizens under the aegis of Aadhar, Secreteriat of the National Council for Older Persons commissioned by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. At the launch, the group chairman, Dr N.S. Sodhi, said, while the family was the basic institution for helping the elderly, the voluntary services under the programme would complement the efforts of families and help the needy senior citizens.

He praised doctors and lawyers who had come forward to help senior citizens in distress. He said a Clothing Bank had been established for the same purpose at Sular village in Patiala district.

The group executive secretary, Dr Ravi Bhushan said Aadhar would train volunteers at the national, level but the other resources would have to be generated locally. The programme survives on voluntary contributions of services, funds, medicines and clothing.



Bairagis support CM’s crusade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The Bairagi Mahan Mandal, Punjab, today passed a resolution endorsing the crusade launched by the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, against corruption in the state.

The Mandal, which met at Sukhna Lake, had its President, Mr K.K. Bawa, in the chair.

The Mandal decided that the death anniversary of Baba Banda Singh Bahadhur should now be observed at Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana, on June 15.


40,000 quintals of wheat rots in FCI godowns
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 1
Stock of wheat with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) here has reportedly rotten.

Sources reveal that 40,000 quintals of rotten wheat is still in the godowns of the FCI and the local FCI officials has approached the District Manager (DM) of the FCI to auction the rotten wheat.

The DM reportedly instead of taking steps to auction, the said wheat stocks told local officials to despatch the rotten wheat to other states as result of which about 15,000 quintals of wheat has already been despatched by special trains.


Pakistani national arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 1
The BSF arrested a Pakistani national during a naka at Kahangarh here yesterday. Company Commander of 19 Battalion Prithvi Raj Singh in a complaint lodged at the Gharinda police station stated that Choudh Hussain of Pakistan was held during a naka at the Kahangarh outpost, near the Indo-Pak border, allegedly while trying to infiltrate into the Indian territory. A case has been registered under Sections 3, 34, 20 of the Indian Passport Act and Section 14 of the Foreign Nationals Act.

Meanwhile, the Majitha police has booked in-laws of Parbhjot Kaur who was allegedly poisoned to death by them. Tasbir Singh, brother of the deceased, in a complaint had alleged that in-laws of Parbhjot Kaur had been demanding more dowry from her. They used to beat her. Husband of the deceased Tarsem Singh, mother-in-law, Gurmej Kaur, father-in-law, Mahinder Singh, and Kulwinder Kaur and Parbhjeet Kaur, both sister-in-laws, under Section 304-B of the IPC. 


2 accomplices of Ragi held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
Sadhu Singh Ragi, a member of the SGPC, has tried to get out of the criminal case registered against him on charge of smuggling of drugs under the NDPS Act by making an attempt to prepare false documents. He has been sent to Joint Interrogation Centre, Amritsar.

The police arrested him and former president, Market Committee, Bhadur, for their alleged involvement in the smuggling and sale of narcotics on May 28. A politicians-smugglers nexus active in the smuggling of narcotics for the past many years in the region was unearthed following the seizure of a huge quantity of poppy husk from the car of Sandhu Singh Ragi.

Police sources said to get out of the case, the accused tried to obtain an affidavit from Jagsir Singh, alias Seera, who was his driver, for creating an evidence that he had sold the car to him (Seera) about two months ago. Sadhu Singh Ragi had confessed that he had made an attempt to take the affidavit in back date.

The sources said two accomplices of the accused, both residents of Bhadur town, Darshan Singh and Gurmail Singh were arrested while they were going to Rajasthan to take poppy husk and opium. A case had been registered at the Sangat police station. Some quantity of poppy husk and cash were seized.

Sadhu Singh Ragi, along with his associates, had been smuggling the narcotics from Rajasthan for the past many years under the patronage of a politician of the ruling party. He would brought the poppy husk from the Hanumangarh area of Rajasthan in trucks in a large quantity and sell it on small vehicles. The entire operation was being done on cellphones and delivery of consignments and payments was used to take place on roadside dhabas. They used even cement bags to transport poppy husk and opium, the sources added.

The sources said the police had been looking for two kingpins, namely Manoj Mania and Sikandra, who were main suppliers of opium and poppy husk to the accused and had been operating in Rajasthan and Haryana.


Kidnap case: police inaction decried
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
Mr Jagjeet Singh Joga, District Secretary of the CPI, on Wednesday alleged that the police was not taking action to recover a minor girl kidnapped from the city about 15 days ago, as some police personnel were involved in the crime.

Mr Joga in a press note here said the 16-year-old girl was abducted in the intervening night of May 10 and 11. He said a case under Sections 363, 366-A of the IPC was registered on May 11.

He alleged that a policeman and his son were involved in the alleged abduction. He said although the two were arrested along with another person the police later freed them.

Mr Joga said the father of the girl had sent telegrams to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the District and Sessions Judge, the DGP, Punjab, and the SSP, Bathinda, in which he had levelled allegations against the police personnel.


Water dispute killings: 3 held
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 1
The police today arrested Jaspal Singh, alias Nikka, Gurpal Singh, alias Guri, and Gurpreet Singh in connection with the killings at Midhu Khera village on May 29. Two other suspects, Narinder Pal Singh Moti and Balraj Singh, have already surrendered in court while another suspect, Rajpreet Singh, is absconding.

Gamdur Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Jagwinder Singh and Gurlal Singh were done to death by a group of assailants with firearms while they were working in their field. One of the suspected assailants, Iqbal Singh, who suffered injuries in the exchange of fire, died while being shifted to hospital.

The police claims that a feud between two families of farmers over the distribution of water from the Banwala minor led to the killings.

Police sources said three suspects were arrested at a police naka near Mehna village, not far from Midhu Khera village.

The sources said two cars, a double-barrelled gun and a pistol had been seized from them. A case under Sections 302, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act has been registered against them.


Two held for murder
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
With the arrest of two persons the district police claims to have solved the murder case of two residents of Jiwan Singh Wala village Mohinder Singh and D.C. Singh, who were murdered on the intervening night of May 24 and 25.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here today said one of the deceased died of serious head injuries while the other was strangulated.

The SSP said the servant of the family was found absent at the time of incident. He said Gurpal Singh of the same village was arrested on suspicion and he confessed to having committed the crime. Gurpal Singh along with Malkit Singh had gone to the house of Mr Narinder Singh, where Mohinder Singh and D.C. Singh were employed as helpers, to commit theft.

Gurpal Singh had served Mr Narinder Singh at his house as a helper and he knew that after wheat harvesting season the money earned would be kept in the house. He along with Malkit Singh had gone there to steal money but they were challenged by Mohinder Singh and D.C. Singh. In the scuffle the latter were killed.

The SSP said, the weapons used by the culprits had been seized and a case under Sections 460 and 302, IPC, had been registered.


Gang of thieves busted, 4 held

Moga, June 1
With the arrest of four persons, the district police claims to have busted a gang of chain snatchers and vehicles thieves. Two stolen two-wheelers, two pistols and swords were recovered from their possession. With the arrests, the police also claims to have solved several cases of chain snatching.

Addressing reports here today, Senior Superintendent of Police Varinder Kumar said on a tip-off the accused were arrested while they were planning to commit a crime. UNI


UGC aspirants to get another chance
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
Punjabi University has decided to give a one-time chance to all its postgraduates to improve their percentage to be eligible for taking the University Grants Commission’s NET examination besides being eligible for appointment as lecturers in the university. The examination will be conducted in July next year.

Till two years ago, the university had fixed a percentage of 50 to be eligible for taking the NET examination as well as for being considered for the post of lecturer in the university. However, afterwards the percentage had been increased to 55.

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