P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Himachal ADGP Thind joins investigation
Police fails to execute non-bailable warrants against him
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
The police failed to arrest Mr Bhupinder Singh Thind, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), CID, Himachal government when he joined investigations for a case registered against him last year despite a Rajpura court having issued non-bailable warrants against him in same case.

The police made raids in Himachal a few days ago to execute non-bailable warrants issued against Mr Thind by a Rajpura court but when Mr Thind presented himself before senior police officials here, he was not arrested.

Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon, SP (Headquarter), who is investigating the case registered against Mr Thind for his alleged involvement in a fraud with a woman here when contacted, said there was no need of arresting Mr Thind because the moment Mr Thind joined the investigation, the need to execute non-bailable warrants against him came to an end.

However, Mr Kahlon could not come out with an answer when he was asked whether Mr Thind was required to get bail from the relevant court and whether police officials were supposed to arrest him and subsequently present him in the court which had issued non-bailable warrants against him.

Mr Thind allegedly committed a fraud with Ms Aninder Jawanda in a land deal and on her complaint a Case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 417 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against Mr Thind at the Dera Bassi police station on November 17, 2005. Ever since, the case was registered against Mr Thind, he was neither arrested by the police nor was he questioned for investigation.

Mr Kahlon said Mr Thind had given his representation to the police in which he had claimed that he was not involved in any fraud and hence a false case was registered against him. He added that the representation of Mr Thind was being studied.

Mr Kahlon said that he had given a questionnaire to Mr Thind. Mr Thind had sought three weeks time to answer that questionnaire. He said after making proper investigations, a challan would be presented in the court in that connection.


Third insurance fraud in six months, two held
Lalit Mohan and BB Dogra

Pathankot, June 23
It is the third case in the past six months in Pathankot in which people have been duped by fake insurance agents. However, the police has nabbed the culprits.

The police arrested Randhir and Sanjeev, both of Sunder Nagar locality, for duping people. The accused were running A&M Insurance Brokers Private Ltd on the Dhangu road. They had agency for Bajaj Allianz Insurance Company. They started copying original forms of the Bajaj Allianz available with them through coloured photostat. Many customers were issued cover notes of insurance on duplicate forms. The amount collected from such customers was pocketed by the accused. The police got suspicious of their activities when some vehicle owners were given third party insurance by the accused on fake forms. The private insurance companies do not give third party insurance.

In a raid on the premises of the accused the police recovered a large number of fake insurance forms and Rs 45000 collected from them was also recovered. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC was registered against the accused.

Earlier fake insurance agents of the SBI Life Insurance and HDFC duped people in Pathankot. Modus operandi of the insurance agents was that they would rent out shops or office premises in the town. The staff was hired and boards of reputed organizations as SBI, HDFC or Bajaj Allianz were displayed before their commercial establishment.

People were attracted by hoardings of reputed organisations and would get insurance policies. Generally fake insurance agents give slips on simple papers as receipts for money. After collecting money from people in name of insurance the agents flee the area.

In both above cases people complained to the police against the insurance agents after they did not get insurance policy. They also found offices in which they had got the policies locked.

Social organisations have demanded that only authorised branches of the reputed organisations be allowed to use their hoardings. With almost every body using the hoarding it was difficult for people to recognise fake agents from genuine ones.


Enquiry to sort out Singh Sabha Pathshala mesh
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 23
Additional Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari has initiated an inquiry on the basis of a complaint lodged by Rajwinder Kaur, Headmistress of Singh Sabha Kanya Pathshala (Senior Secondary School), against Jaspinder Singh Jakhar, president of the school managing committee.

Mr Jakhar had been able to retain his position in the reorganised Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee as general secretary. He had placed Rajwinder Kaur under suspension, blaming her for not wearing the school uniform and disobeying him on June 19. He had banned her entry to the school also.

Mr Tiwari had summoned the Headmistress and the president to appear in the afternoon session here at the office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate. But, instead of facing the complainant, Mr Jakhar preferred to appear in the morning and sought one week time to submit his reply. Later, Rajwinder Kaur appeared before the ADC alongwith Dr Pritam Singh Sidhu, Gurbachan Singh Sran, Tejwinder Singh Aulakh, all members of the school managing committee; Gurcharan Singh Chahal, state president of the government aided private schools teachers union; and Prem Phutela, district unit president. The parents of some students were also present.

The leaders of the teachers union described the action taken by Mr Jakhar as undemocratic, illegal and unprecedented as members of the managing committee, including the District Education Officer, had not received a proper notice for the meeting. The president had no right to suspend the Headmistress without taking in to confidence the DPI (School) Punjab who had approved the appointment in 2001. The charges leveled in the show cause notice were arbitrary, vague and lacked genuineness, they asserted.

Three members of the managing committee, while taking a strong exception to the decision of the president, said Mr Jakhar had been time and again requested to behave as a public servant and not a dictator. The atmosphere in the 60-years-old girls school had been spoiled after Mr Jakhar took over as president, they lamented.

Ms Rajwinder Kaur reportedly stated that Mr Jakhar entered her office without knocking and insulted her in the presence of the staff, students and their parents. He, later, got her retiring room demolished without the consent of the managing committee. The retiring room had a toilet and other basic amenities, she added. The president, she alleged, had tried his best to tarnish her image as a disciplined and hard working Headmistress. She denied having refused to come to the school in the uniform. The inquiry will be continued on June 29.


Taxes have gone up under Cong regime: Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The decision of the government to abolish octroi is just a mere eyewash and is like "new wine in old bottle". The government has only changed the name of octroi to Local Areas Development Tax (LADT). Probably, Punjab is the only state in the country where "tax on tax" has been imposed.

Imposition of LADT is a far cry from the pre-poll promises in which the Congress has assured the people of not to re-impose octroi, abolished by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in the state, claimed Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, a former Finance Minister of Punjab and General Secretary of the SAD.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that by imposing Value Added Tax (VAT) in the state, the Congress had increased the floor level tax on each and every commodity. During the Akali Government the average sales tax was 6 per cent while its level had now gone up to 10 per cent on an average.

"An increase of 4 per cent amounts to an additional burden to the tune of Rs 950 crore on the consumers and the traders of the state,’’ claimed Capt. Kanwaljit Singh.

"Punjab is that highest taxed state in the country, today. Consumers and traders have to pay central sales tax, excise tax and octroi in addition to the VAT. The total tax payable has gone up to 32 per cent," he pointed out.

The central sales tax, the excise tax and the octroi amounted to value addition on goods on which VAT has already been imposed. This was the main reason of price hike of commodities of daily use that had broken the backbone of the common man.

The former Punjab Finance Minister also claimed that if the SAD returned to power, the entire taxation policies framed by the Congress Government would be reviewed to reduce the tax burden on the common man.

Coming heavily on the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress Government, Capt. Kanwaljit Singh claimed that the mega projects for which the Congress had been boasting were only on paper. In the real sense, not a single mega project had been set up as yet. Over 90 per cent of the mega projects have been operating as real estate hubs without any employment to the local youth but had become an enduring threat to the ecological balance, he claimed.

Talking on power plants, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that in over four and a half years of the Congress rule, not even a single power generation unit had been added to the existing ones.

The state was facing an acute shortage of power (30 per cent of the total) which had forced the industrial units to switch over to the neighbouring states. The industrial units which were still in the state were fighting for survival.

He demanded that a proposed atomic power plant in Haryana should be a regional power plant and a minimum power supply of 2000 MW should be given to Punjab on certain terms and condition.


Master Tara Singh’s belongings gather dust
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 23
Some of the most precious relics of Punjab’s history belonging to Master Tara Singh, who had ruled the hearts of Sikh masses for more than half century, have been gathering dust in his ancestral house here. Master Tara Singh had played a vital role in motivating the Sikhs to opt for India at the time of the Partition.

The birth anniversary of Master Tara Singh, who was one of the founders of the Shiromani Akali Dal and SGPC, will be observed tomorrow.

Tall claims made by senior leaders of various Akali factions to commemorate the birth anniversary of the great Sikh leader with fanfare notwithstanding, it would be an absolutely quiet family affair.

The priceless relics, belonging to the great leader, include the historical ‘kirpan’ that had caught the attention of the world before partition of the country.

However, these invaluable belongings have been dumped in an almirah in the house of Master Tara Singh (Masterji).

Raising the slogan of ‘‘Pakistan murdabad’’ in front of the Punjab Assembly, Lahore, on March 4, 1947, by brandishing this black-coloured ‘kirpan’, which was the trademark of Masterji, had earned him many enemies. The fury of fanatical Muslims against Tara Singh was so intense that his house in his ancestral village, Harial, in Rawalpindi district (now in Pakistan), was burnt down and 59 of his relatives were hacked to death.

Ms Jaspreet Kaur, grand daughter-in-law of a Panthic leader who has done her Ph.D on Master Tara Singh, while criticising the present Akali leadership said ‘‘they have no respect for the heroes of their community’’ .

It is disgusting that the Akalis and the SGPC seem to have forgotten the ‘‘betaj badshah’’ of Sikh politics. Neither the SGPC nor SAD has come forward to open a museum where the belongings of Master Tara Singh could be preserved and displayed. The cupboard of the leader, kept in the old structure of his house, remains locked most of the time. It contains a number of swords, including a samurai (Japanese sword). Most of these swords had been gifted to him at functions, along with siropas.

Though the family members of the great leader are planning to turn a portion of his house into a museum, yet no initiative seems to have been taken by them in this regard so far.

However, it is good that the family has been preserving a number of items, ranging from his personal use items to correspondence containing precious information and views regarding the Partition. These items include garwi, large-sized metal glasses, muffler, pens, passport, gold pocket watch, historical documents, including his correspondence with the British rulers and national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru on burning topics like the Partition and communal riots. Some of these priceless souvenirs like his pocket watch got partially burnt in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi. A plastic pipe and funnel, that was used as a hearing aid, show the humble way of living of the towering Sikh leader.


SAD gives show-cause notice to Calcutta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal has started preparing the ground to remove Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a member of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD, from the party.

The chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the SAD, Mr Gurdev Singh, has served a show-cause notice on Mr Calcutta for his alleged anti-party activity. He has been asked to submit his reply within 10 days. Mr Calcutta has been openly criticising the leadership of the SAD, especially Mr Badal. Long ago, Mr Calcutta had joined hands with Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna and his brother, Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna, President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. The Sarna brothers, considered close to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, are vocal critics of Mr Badal.

In fact, the two Sarna brothers and Mr Calcutta were camp followers of the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra. After the death of Tohra, Mr Calcutta had developed a good rapport with Mr Badal. It was earlier expected that Mr Badal would give an important position to Mr Calcutta in the SGPC but it did not happen.

Mr Calcutta is now closely associated with the Delhi committee where the Sarna brothers call the shots. Political circles had been expecting action against Mr Calcutta for the past several months. He is expected to be expelled from the party for six years.

However, sources close to Mr Calcutta say he will be submitting a hard-hitting reply to the show-cause notice attacking Mr Badal. "Mr Calcutta will use the opportunity to expose the leadership of Mr Badal," said a senior Akali leader.


Minister warns officials
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh gave a warning to officials of various departments who were being negligent in executing developmental works during a meeting of the District Planning and Development Board held at the Mini Secretariat, here today.

The minister said officials who were responsible for carrying out developmental works in the district for the year 2003-04 should submit their completion certificates as soon as possible and return the funds which had not been utilised. He added that action would be initiated against erring officials who failed to give proper clarifications pertaining to incomplete projects.

Mr Sardoool Singh, who presided over the meeting, attended by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Verma, and other officials, added that the district administration should carry out inspection of the ongoing developmental works after every 15 days and it also should see to it that the works are completed within the given time frame. Instructions were also given to officials to complete all work falling under the Punjab Nirman Programme by September 15 and asked them to come with records pertaining to the same in the next meeting of the Planning and Development Board.

The minister informed that the Punjab Planning Department had sanctioned an amount of Rs 48 crore for the Patiala District Planning and Development Board to initiate developmental works during the year 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Mr Sardool Singh, who also presided over a meeting of the district grievances committee, took strict notice of complaints in connection with the disbursement of old age pension scheme.


New record of thermal plant

Ropar, June 23
The thermal plant, Ropar, has set a new record for round-the-clock functioning of its six units each of 210 MW capacity for 19 days without any tripping. Earlier the record had been registered for non-stop running of its units for 17 days, said General Manager N.K Arora, this evening.

The plant is supplying 300 lakh units to the state everyday and is one of the major power generating sources of the state. TNS


SGPC president leaves for USA

Amritsar, June 23
Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, President, SGPC, along with various Sikh leaders left for the USA to participate in religious functions to commemorate the fourth centenary of establishment of Sri Akal Takht Sahib.

The other leaders were Mr Charnjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, MLA, and Mr Roop Singh, Manager, Sri Harmandar Sahib. — OC


Women join farmers’ dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 23
On the second day of the dharna here in front of the office of the Superintending Engineer (SE), Distribution, PSEB, Sangrur Circle, by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), several women today also joined the dharna. The BKU (Ugrahan) has been organising dharnas under the leadership of Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the union, in support of its demands.

The protesters today also gheraoed the office of the SE at 1 pm and lifted it at 5 pm. They blocked the entry to the office of the SE by sitting at the main gate of the office.

Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan said farmers were demanding increase in the load of tubewell motors and replacement of the burnt or damaged transformers of the farmers, who had not deposited power bills of the tubewell motors for the period when the Amarinder government had withdrawn free power supply facility for tube-wells in the state. He today also reiterated that they would not lift the dharna till the acceptance of main demands. He said they were prepared to face repression by the police and the administration.

Mr Ugrahan added their other demands included 16-hour regular power supply to tube-wells and 24-hour domestic power supply to the rural as well as the urban areas.

Among others who addressed or participated in the dharna, included Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Mr Janak Singh Bhutal, Mr Bukan Singh Sadowal, Mr Darbara Singh Chhajla and Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor, all leaders of the union.


Inside Babudom
EC says no transfer, govt seeks review
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The Election Commission of India has told the Punjab Government that Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs) who are also associated with election work should not be transferred from their present place of posting till August 31. In response to this, the state government yesterday sent a fresh request to the EC to allow transfers in view of administrative requirements.

At present, the revision of the voters' list is going on and the EC's embargo will be in place till August 31. It says all SDMs who are working as Assistant Election Returning Officers cannot be shifted. Normally, Punjab Civil Service officers are posted as SDMs. Sources in the state government said the transfers had been sought due to administrative exigencies as most of the SDMs had completed their three-year tenure at the present places of posting. It was also part of the administrative exercise launched by the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal. In the past two months more than 65 IAS officers have been transferred. Besides, almost all SSP and SP-level officials have been shifted. However, the transfer of PCS officers was kept in abeyance.

The sources in the government said there were two options relating to the transfer of PCS officers. The government could wait for the reply of the EC and defer the entire transfer process. If the EC permitted, go through with the transfers, or wait till the first week of September.

The second option was to reshuffle those who were not working as AEROs but were posted as Joint Secretaries, Special Secretaries, Additional Secretaries, Directors or Additional Directors in various departments in Chandigarh or Mohali. Even those working with PUDA and the Health, Irrigation or such other department could be shifted. Then in the second lot transfer those who were connected with the election process when the embargo was lifted on August 31.

The sources indicated that there would be a short interval during the work of revising the voters' list. During that period there was not much work and SDMs could be shifted. Yesterday, this matter was also discussed with an official of the EC , who was here to attend a meeting.

In the past few weeks hectic lobbying has been going on for the postings of PCS officers, especially SDMs.


Revised voter lists displayed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 23
The District Administration has displayed the revised electoral rolls of 78 Amloh and 79 Sirhind Assembly constituencies at the offices of the Tehsildar, SDM, post offices as well as polling stations. The names of all those who are eligible to caste votes up to January 1 2006 have been included in these electoral rolls, said Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Election Officer.

She urged the voters that if they had any objection regarding the revised voter lists or if they want any addition or alteration they can file their objections by July 3 upto 5 pm at the District Election Office, SDM offices, Election Registration Officer or Assistant Election Registration Officers by filling form No 6, 7, 8, available at these offices. She said they could also send them by post. She clarified that any person could file the claim of his family but the claims on a large scale would not be accepted. She said the changes, additions, alterations would be completed by July 24 and by August 31 the final voter lists would be displayed.


Couple arrested for firing at truck driver
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 23
Panic gripped the area when a husband and his wife, who were later identified as Swaran Singh Chib and Rani Chib, residents of Noida, after coming out of their car (UP-16M-0800) fired two shots at Bidhi Chand, a son of Ghungru Ram, driver of a TATA-909 truck (PB-07P-6188), near the octroi post at the local Bharwain road last evening. Bidhi Chand had a narrow escape.

It is reported that the couple, who were coming from the Chintpurni shrine, got irked by the sudden stoppage of the truck in front of their car on the Bharwain road. After stopping the car, the couple came out and the husband fired two shots from his licensed revolver at Bidhi Chand.

Meanwhile, people assembled there. On seeing the mob, both husband and wife sped away. The mob informed the police which nabbed them at Prabhat Chowk.

The Sadar police has arrested the husband and his wife under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act.


Creditor coerces divorcee for marriage
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
Two persons barged into the residence of a divorcee, Ms Ritika Nayyar, a resident of Khoo Bombaywala here, and exerted pressure on her to marry one of them.

In her complaint, the victim has alleged that the two accused fired shots at her residence in order to force their entry into her house on June 18. However, they were forced to flee as soon as her neighbours rushed to the scene.

She maintained that one of the accused, who is also a financer, had got two blank cheques signed by her against a loan of Rs 25,000, which she had taken for the admission of her daughter. She said that the financer’s wife was murdered last year and from then on, he was asking her to marry him.

She alleged that since the filing of the complaint, he has been threatening her to either take back the complaint or be ready to face the consequences.


3 arrested in petrol station looting case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
With the arrest of three persons, the district police today solved the case of looting of a petrol station in which unidentified persons looted Rs 2 lakh from a petrol station here on June 17.

The accused were identified as Jaspal Singh Jassa of Dabourji, Lakhwinder Singh of Gillwali and Major Singh of Verpal area, while two of their accomplices managed to dodge the police.

The police has recovered Rs 70,000 from them, besides sharpedged weapons. A case under the IPC and the Arms Act had been registered.


Labourer killed
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 23
A Bihari migrant labourer, Baljit Kumar, alias Jeeta (14), was reportedly murdered with sharpedged weapons by his cousins, Barre Lal and Chotte Lal, with the connivance of an unidentified culprit at the house of a farmer, Assa Singh, at nearby Sarhali village in Phillaur subdivision on Thursday night.


Khadi board’s initiative for rural unemployed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 23
The Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board would sanction loans and would provide subsidy to approximately 700 borrowers for setting up industrial units in rural areas to generate sustainable employment for 13,520 rural unemployed of the state.

This was stated by Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, Chairman, Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board, while addressing 50th awareness camp being organised by the Khadi Board at Mulepur village in the district today.

He said the aim of these camps was to popularise the schemes of the board as well as by providing loans to the youths on subsidies rates, so that they might generate their own source of employment.

He said the official procedure to get the loans had been simplified, adding that as the Chief Minister had declared the current year as development year, so the Khadi Board was also contributing in the development in rural areas so as to generate employment for unemployed rural youths.

Mr Walia said the board was also giving loans on a minimum rate of interest and rather also providing subsidy, so that the youth may set up their own ventures instead of running after white collar jobs.

He said as the government could not provide jobs to all, so the youths should get technical training and start their own business at a small scale.

The Chairman said the dairy farming, bee-keeping, piggery, fish farming, poultry and other allied business could be started and board would provide loans.

In his address Mr Bharpur Singh, District Manager, Khadi Board, said in the current session, 50 new units would be set up by the board in the district.

He said seven units had been granted loans worth Rs 43 Lakh and subsidies worth Rs 10 lakh.


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