Tuesday, January 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I N   N E W S

One dies in shooting at Shimla hotel
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Jan 1 Shooting at a local hotel, in which a person was killed and two injured, marred the New Year celebrations here last night.

The incident took place past midnight at Apsara Guest House on the Cart Road when the New Year celebrations were at peak. Rajneesh Sharma (26), local shopkeeper, died on the spot whereas his friends Roshan Kapoor (30) and Pawan Kumar (21) sustained bullet injuries as Manjit Singh, security personnel of a businessman from Ludhiana, fired at them from his carbine following an altercation. He fled along with his two accomplices, Balraj and Surinder, soon after the incident. The injured were taken to the local Indira Gandhi Medical College hospital and are stated to be out of danger.

The police swung into action immediately and managed to arrest Manjit Singh and the other two persons in the wee hours of the day. The police got a clue from a belt left on the spot which indicated that the accused was a constable with the Ludhiana police.

Thereafter, inquiries were made at all hotels to find if any VIP from Ludhiana has checked in. The night-long search led to Mr Charanjit Singh, owner of the Pure Milk Products Ltd., Ludhiana, who was staying at the hotel Holiday Home. Since his securityman and drivers were staying in Apsara Guest House, he was not aware of their whereabouts. However, while he was being questioned by the police at the local reporting room, he received a call from his wife on his mobile phone informing him that Manjit had arrived at the hotel.

Mr A.N. Sharma, Superintendent of Police, said there was no motive behind the killing and the shooting was a result of sudden provocation. The six persons involved in the clash were under the influence of liquor.

He said six empty cartridges had been recovered from the spot where as the accused had fired nine to 12 bullets. Manjit has been charged with murder and Surinder and Balraj booked under Section 34 of the IPC.

Barring this incident the celebration passed off peacefully, though the police arrested six tourists, who were in an inebriated state as a preventive measure. They were released this morning.

Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Chief Minister, had a round of the Mall and the ridge to greet the tourists. He was accompanied by the ministers, Mr J.P. Nadda, Mr Parveen Sharma, Mr Narinder Bragta and Mr R.D. Kashyap.

The revellers danced to the tunes of live orchestra on the ridge well past midnight.

Mr Dhumal said that from the next year the New Year would be celebrated as a week long winter festival from Christmas. A proper stage would be provided on the ridge for cultural programme and orchestra. Arrangements for floodlighting of the ridge would also be made. Important buildings would be given a facelift and illuminated during the festival.
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