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Advocate arrested in credit card fraud case
Lawyers, police on warpath
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
The local police and the lawyers are heading for a showdown over the issue of arrest of an advocate by the Division No 8 police in an alleged credit card fraud case.

A verbal spat took place between a group of local lawyers and city policemen at the Division No 8 police station when the policemen were giving details about a credit card fraud allegedly committed by a city-based advocate, a pickpocket and a former employee of a private telephone company.

The police was claiming that it had arrested advocate Amarjit Singh of Fauji Mohalla here on the basis of evidence along with Vikas, former employee of a telephone company, for doing shopping worth over Rs 4 lakh from a stolen credit card of an NRI. The third accused was Sonu, an alleged pickpocket, who had stolen the credit card. He was missing.

The credit card was stolen six months ago in November 2004 from GRD Academy here where the Miss World Punjaban contest was being held. The alleged victim, NRI Jaswinder Singh, was watching the show when his pocket was picked.

However, a group of lawyers led by a former president of the District Bar Association, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, openly charged the police with falsely implicating the accused advocate. They also alleged that some policemen had demanded money from the advocate but when he refused to pay, he was booked in a false case. The police has denied the allegations.

DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa stated at a press conference that the accused had indulged in shopping using the stolen credit card from showrooms of Adidas, Nike, Weekender, Tanishq, Titan and Sant Ram Mangat Ram.

The police narrowed down on the accused after the complainant learnt that the credit card was being misused.

However, Mr Dhanda alleged that the lawyer was innocent and had been falsely implicated in the case. He said the lawyer was tortured in police custody. A group of lawyers later filed a complaint before a local Judge against police torture and harassment.

Meanwhile, taking a tough stand against the arrest and the alleged custodial torture of the advocate, the District Bar Association (DBA) has demanded immediate suspension of the guilty policemen.

Mr Rana Harjasdeep Singh, Secretary, DBA, said in a statement that they had got the medical examination of the accused advocate conducted from the Civil Hospital. A delegation of the DBA would meet the SSP tomorrow and demand action against the SHO and other policemen of the Division No 8 police station.

Former DBA president K.R. Sikri condemned the incident and termed it as breach of trust and of an understanding reached between the lawyers and a former DGP, Dr A A Siddiqui, last year that the police would take the DBA into confidence before arresting an advocate in any case, except a rape or a murder case.



Battling for justice after losing son
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
Tears have not stopped rolling down the cheeks of 60-year-old Gurdeesh Kaur, ever since her son was allegedly tortured to death by Ludhiana police three years ago.
Like her tears, her fight for justice also continues. Her determination to avenge the untimely death of her son only grows stronger with each passing day.

Ms Gurdeesh Kaur, a resident of Meharban village, had found her only son, Amandeep Singh, (24), lying on the floor of her house, a day after he was allegedly picked up by Meharban police for his failure to participate in ‘‘theekri pehra’’ organised in villages.

She had taken him to a number of doctors, who had, one after the other, declared that he had died hours ago. ‘‘I was not trusting the doctors. I was hoping against hope that one of them might say he would survive. But I was shaken out of my false belief by a Basti Jodhewal-based physician, who strernly asked me to take his body home,’’ she said while remembering that unfortunate day.

Showing her a ray of hope, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, (PHRC), has once again summoned her for providing oral or material evidence. The case comes up for next hearing on May 4. Her case is in PHRC for the past two years.

Amandeep was a taxi driver. Being the only hope of Gurdeesh Kaur, who was separated from her alcoholic husband, he was not able to help villagers in night patrolling organised by them on May 22, 2002. He had taken his taxi to Ludhiana Railway Station in search of clients that night.

Little had the mother-son duo realised that his being away would change their lives forever. Incensed at his absence, the villagers allegedly complained to the police. ‘‘All was well till May 25. I had returned from a gurdwara that evening only to learn from my neighbours that my son had been picked up by the police, ’’ she alleged.

‘‘Next day my son was left by the police on the floor of my house. I was not at home that time. When I came back, I saw four persons, including two cops, leaving my house from the back door.’’ she claimed.

After this she was involved in a lengthy fight for justice which did not bear any fruit till a local NGO, International Human Rights Association, (IHRO), took up her case and filed a complaint in PHRC. The commission took cognizance of her plight and a case of human rights' violations was registered in May 2003.

The commission had ordered an inquiry and asked the police to submit a report. Interestingly, the local police, in its report, claimed that Amandeep was never arrested by the police. The report further claimed that, according to his parents’ statement, they did not want action against anybody as their son had committed suicide due to poverty.

It also claimed that Amandeep had committed suicide allegedly by consuming some poisonous substance. A case under 174 CrPC was registered by the police following the statement of his father. 



Farmer alleges harassment by land mafia
Mahesh Sharma

Maksudra (Ahmedgarh), April 28
To ensure survival a farmer of this village has to perform odd jobs in cities and towns as the land mafia working in this part of the district has grabbed a major portion of the land belonging to his family. To save the title of the land in their name, the children have had to prove that their father had not died unmarried as argued by the grabbers in various courts.

In a communication to the higher authorities, including the Chief Minister Punjab, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, the Revenue Minister, and the Chief Justice of India, Mr Ravinder Singh, living at Rurka village in Jalandhar district, alleged that the land mafia had grabbed land belonging to his family. It had earlier grabbed 10 acres of land belonging to his grandfather.

He along with his three brothers and three sisters had inherited substantial land from his father, Bachan Singh, who had died in May, 1983. Though the process for transferring the mutation of the said land in the name of wards of Bachan Singh started in 1991, some persons got the revenue records allegedly tampered with the connivance of one of their relatives posted at the office of the SDM, Payal.

The land-grabbers had prepared false documents to justify their claim on the land. “We had to fight a long battle to get the records rectified and get the mutations done in our favour from various revenue officers. We are yet to receive the possession of a major portion of the land,” said Mr Ravinder Singh.

He said they were minors when the land was grabbed. After a long legal battle they had got the decision done in their favour at the court of Assistant Collector at Payal. The Collector (ADC), Ludhiana, and Commissioner, Patiala, upheld the orders pronounced by the assistant collector.

The grabbers had presented a fake will, purportedly made by Bachan Singh who lived at Samrala prior to his death. They had even misled the authorities that Bachan Singh, father of seven children, had died unmarried. His children presented many documentary proofs that their father was married. Ultimately, the authorities ordered that mutation be done in favour of the appellants.

Even after seven years of the orders, the legal owners have failed to take possession of the land. Vide a recent communication they have urged the authorities to enable them get their land and till it.



26 encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
The demolition squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today got vacated 62,000 square yards of land at Jamalpur Awana village and the Tajpur road area here today.

The squad, including Mr Balkar Singh Brar, Senior Town Planner, and Mr Manmohan Singh, Zonal Commissioner, removed 26 encroachments, mostly on fields, and took the possession of the land.

However, there was no protest from the encroachers. While a bulldozer was used for clearing pucca constructions, a tractor was used to plough fields. The outer walls of fields were also demolished.

Mr Brar said the corporation would demarcate the land tomorrow and erect a fence to show its possession. He added that the operation would be completed by tomorrow.

The entire land was allegedly encroached upon by eight persons.

Earlier, the Tehbazari Department removed kiosks from Sabzi Mandi in Aggar Nagar. While the operation was conducted in the morning, the kiosks were back soon after the team left the spot.

Later in the day, residents, whose encroachments were removed, claimed that they had documents that showed that the land was in their possession for the past many years.

They claimed that they were not even issued notices by the corporation. However, corporation officials said notices were issued.

The high court asked the civic body on April 8 to identify “big” encroachers and submit an action-taken report against them till May 20.

The corporation had identified 300 such defaulters and had already issued notices to them.



Youths assault dealer, take away car
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 28
Two unidentified persons injured an automobile dealer and took away a car from him forcibly near Markfed Vanaspati Mill on the G T road on Wednesday night. Police officials rushed the injured person to civil hospital in Khanna.

The victim was identified as Rajiv Sabharwal, son of Gulshan Lal owner of D. R. Sabhrawal Automobiles. He said thar he had received a telephone call at about 9.30 p.m and the caller told him that he wanted some spare parts of the car and was standing near his shop. He requested him to come to deliver the spare parts. On this Rajiv went to his shop. When he came out of his car two unidentified youths standing there attacked him with iron rods and injured him. He fell and the youths took away his car (No C H K 1515). The S S P of Khanna, Mr Pramod Ban, also visited the Hospital and inquired about the incident.

The police has registered a case at Sadar police station in this connection.



Ludhiana-Delhi rail traffic restored
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 28
Traffic on the Ludhiana-Delhi double rail track remained suspended for nearly three hours following the derailment of a coach of the Amritsar-Howrah mail-3006 near Giaspura late last night. It was providential escape for hundreds of passengers aboard the train when the coach did not topple over despite jumping off the track.

Railway sources said the derailment occurred when a bull was crushed under the train and got stuck in the wheels of the first coach. The bull was dragged for nearly a kilometre after which the coach got derailed. The incident could have resulted in a tragedy had the driver not applied emergency brakes moments before the train ran over the bull.

It was not a stray bull. It was owned by a resident of Giaspura who created quite a scene at the accident site last night and later at the Railway office here today demanding compensation for the death of the animal.

In a swift action, the rail traffic was diverted through the Dhurri line. It was restored on the main track only after 12:30 am. The derailed coach was disconnected from the train which left for Howrah after midnight only. The tracks were damaged due to which the traffic was diverted.

Though no passenger was injured in the incident, the terrible jolt shock them up. Most of the passengers were sleeping when they heard a loud thud and woke up with a start. The coach did not go far after the derailment, otherwise it could have turned turtle and caused loss of life.

DSP, Industrial Area, R. K. Bakshi who supervised the rescue operation along with senior railway officials said the passengers came out of the coach largely on their own. They were quite panicky initially but later on became calm and helped in the rescue operations. The coach was disconnected from the train and another coach was arranged.



16 booked for setting shop on fire
Political parties block road
Our Correspondent

Bassi (Raikot), April 28
The Raikot police has booked 16 persons for allegedly setting afire the pesticide shop owned by an Akali leader and attempting to murder his son yesterday. To build pressure on the accused to surrender, the police rounded up some of his relatives.

A joint action committee, constituted by various political parties of the area, threatened to launch a stir, in case the culprits were not arrested within five days.

Baljit Singh Rangi, former block president of the Youth Congress, along with his henchmen, had set afire the pesticide shop owned by Mr Ved Parkash Rawal, an SAD leader and former Sarpanch, last evening. They had assaulted Mr Rawal’s son Raj Kamal before sprinkling petrol on the shop and setting it afire. Raj Kamal had received grave injuries and was shifted to the Civil Hospital, Sudhar.

Goods and property worth around Rs 5 lakh ware destroyed in the fire, claimed Mr Rawal.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, said the accused had been booked under Sections 307, 452, 427, 148, 149 and 120 B of the IPC.

Those who had been identified include Baljit Singh Rangi, Paramjit Singh, Sohan Singh, Butta (of Goindwal village), Gora of Raikot, Binder of Johlan, Happy of Bassian, and Kala of Dhanaula. They were carrying swords and rods at the time of the crime.

The DSP, Raikot, Mr Ahir, told Ludhiana Tribune that a misunderstanding that occurred on the previous day had triggered the dispute. Rangi’s brother Darshan Singh had had a tiff with Sukhdarshan Singh at Bassian on Tuesday.

He, along with his associates had beaten up Sukhdarshan Singh. A mob came to his rescue and they had to run away from the scene.

Taking the action of the villager as staged by Mr Rawal, Rangi decided to teach him a lesson and attacked his shop.

Leader of various political parties staged a dharna in the market today. They blocked the traffic on the link road for around two hours. The blockade was lifted after the authorities assured that the accused would be arrested soon. Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Jagjit Singh Talwandi (both SAD leader), Harbans Singh Lohatbaddi (CPM Punjab leader) and Baldev Singh Talwandi addressed the gathering.

Meanwhile, the joint action committee led by Mr Gurdev Singh Kalsan threatened to launch a stir in case the culprits were not arrested within five days.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that Baljit Singh, the main accused is facing an attempt to murder case already. He was earlier booked in case of land dispute under Sections 447 and 448 of the IPC. The police has rounded up some of the relatives of the accused. 



VAT essential for trade, industry, says Singla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
The proposals made by the Punjab Government in connection with carrying out some changes in Value Added Tax (VAT) for Punjab state particularly has already been agreed by the Central Employment Committee on it, said Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab.

He was addressing a workshop on VAT organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today . The workshop was attended by representatives from different trade and industry and officials from the Department of Excise and Taxation, including Mr S.K. Ralhan, Additional Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Punjab.

Mr Surinder Singla added that the CSD canteens in Punjab would not be covered under the purview of VAT regime . The tax on majority of the industry input like fastener, utensils, engine parts, skimmed milk, equipments etc had been slashed to 4% from the existing 12.5%.

The Punjab Government had made all arrangements for introducing the H-form for merchant exporters and uncertainty in that connection would be over in a few days.

Mr Singla, who tried to convince the participants by answering their questions in connection with the state government policies pertaining to different aspects of VAT, said that VAT had become necessary for the survival of trade and industry. He pointed out that India had been entering into global and regional agreement with a number of countries and in such a scenario, VAT would help traders and industrialists to be more competitive to make their presence felt at the international level.

The structure carried a single standard rate, applying to most goods and services in the country. Out of the 123 countries levying VAT, 88 adopt single rate and others a maximum of four rates. The standard rate plays a significant role determining revenue efficiency. In 37 countries the standard rate is 20% or more; 49 countries have rate of 15-19%; and only in 37 countries the tax base is wide and the rate is less than 15%.

Mr Amarjit Goyal, Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHDCCI, highlighted certain issues which need to be considered by the government while reviewing the law.



Mercedes-Benz model launched
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 28
For Mercedes-Benz, Punjab is among the fastest growing markets in the country. While owning a Merc remains a status symbol, the company is particularly encouraged with the upcoming trend where people are going in for more than one Mercedes in the same family, says Mr Manjit Singh Bala, Managing Director, Tai-Pan Traders. Mr Bala was here in connection with the launch of Mercedes-Benz CLS on Tuesday.

Punjab and Chandigarh are high potential markets. In Punjab, Ludhiana tops the list, he said. Punjab currently has 1,400 Mercedes, including 400 in Ludhiana.

While the overall market for luxury cars is growing, Mr Bala attributed the trend to high per capita income in the state and easy financing options available.


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