Wednesday, May 16, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Student denies connivance with examiner
Result tampering case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The ongoing inquiry into the case of result tampering in Punjab University, in which a student was given 42 marks in reevaluation as against zero in the original marking, has taken an interesting turn.

The candidate in question presented himself before the university inquiry committee and denied any connivance with the examiner (Dr B.B. Goyal from the University Business School). Sources said the candidate claimed that he had met with an accident a few days before the examination and he did not write any answer on the sheet.

Sources revealed that the candidate said he had to fill the reevaluation form on persistence from his family members. The change in result due to increase in marks of reevaluation came in as a surprise, yet he cleared all the papers separately once again. A cursory look at the marks showed that he was an above average case.

The case, which pertained to the 1998 session, concerns a student from Hoshiarpur. The candidate has completed his graduation. He reappeared in all papers of the class concerned the subsequent year.

A member of the committee said, “The candidate has completed his graduation. There is no discriminatory material found in his possession at the time of the examination. In all possibility he gets a cleanchit. It is the question of the role of the examiner which is being studied.”

A senior university functionary said, “There are certain loopholes in the case. The committee will deliberate on the details. More than a hundred copies checked by Dr Goyal have been studied.”

The committee under the chairmanship of Justice D.V. Sehgal consists of Mr Ashok Bhandari, Joint Controller of Examination, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Principal P.S. Sangha, Dr Deepak Manmohan, Dr R.D. Anand, Dr Satya P. Gautam. Principal B.D. Budhiraja and Dr V.K. Bansal. A meeting of the high-level committee is scheduled for tomorrow.

The case came to light when an official noticed an uncommon answersheet. There was a copy which had “Radha Soami” written on all pages. During preliminary investigations, fingers were pointed out at the evacuator.

Another investigation officer was appointed, who did not submit any report. The case went to the Senate where fresh inquiry was demanded.

A senior Fellow said, “Let the investigation committee conduct a free and fair trial. Let all sides be heard before a final decision”.


Setback to Admn plan for computer education
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, May 15
Chandigarh Administration’s ambitious plan of introducing computer education in government schools in the city suffered a serious setback today after the Delhi-based Zee Interactive Learning Systems Ltd expressed its inability to undertake the project. Initially expected to start from the current session, the project may now be delayed for an indefinite period. A similar project undertaken for the city colleges will, however, continue as planned.

Zee Interactive Learning Systems, which had bagged the contract for school level courses from (class VI to XII) was issued a letter of intent on March 21 by the UT Administration. But the company had been delaying the signing of the agreement on one pretext or the other for the past two months and finally backed out of the project completely before the last date — May 11.

It may be recalled that the draft of agreement, based strictly on terms and conditions of comprehensive tender document, on the basis of which various firms at national level competed with each other by participating in bids for co-hidden contract, was approved by the Administration and handed over to the Zee Interactive Learning Systems on March 27.

The company had offered lowest fees of Rs 85 per student per month for conducting computer courses prescribed by the UT Administration from class VI to XII in government high and senior secondary schools.

The entire process was to be launched within eight weeks of signing the agreement and the Education Department was looking forward to start the courses from the current academic year.

According to sources, Zee Interactive Learning Systems started making excuses to seek clarifications on two or three points in draft of agreement. Thereafter, the company made another representation taking up several new points. The UT Administration virtually accepted all amendments sought by the firm.

At last deadline for signing of the agreement was fixed as May 4. The company, however, sought extension in the deadline for signing the agreement from May 4 to May 11 which too was granted by the UT Administration.

Sources in the Education Department added, that Zee Interactive Learning Systems backed out and made legally impermissible excuses. The administration is thinking of taking action as per law which may include forfeiture of earnest money and also blacklisting of the firm. 


156 students given prizes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
As many as 156 students of Government College of Education, Sector 20, were given prizes at the annual prize distribution function of the college held here yesterday.

Kanwalpreet Kaur was awarded the college roll of honour for being a member of the winning team of the inter-university kho-kho championship.

Seventeen college colours were awarded to the members of the winning teams of table tennis and basketball, the best athletes from among boys and girls and one for the co-curricular activities.

Kuldip Singh and Gunanidhi were given awards of honour for being accompanists in all the ten musical items.

Besides these 48 first prizes, 42 second prizes and 37 third prizes were awarded for 24 competitions held throughout the session.

Ten merit certificates were given and all the office-bearers of various societies and committees were also given certificates.


Dismissal of cops quashed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Allowing a writ petition filed by six Haryana Police personnel, a division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today quashed the orders dismissing them from service.

Challenging the orders, ex-head constable Ram Kumar and others, posted at Haryana Chief Minister’s residence before being terminated, from service, had earlier stated that they were dismissed on the allegations of attempting to spread indiscipline, disobedience and disaffection among the police force by entering into a conspiracy with a view to disobeying the lawful directions issued by the officers.

After hearing the arguments, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Amar Bir Singh Gill and Mr Justice V.S. Aggarwal, directed that “status quo as on the date when the dismissal orders were passed shall be restored”.

The Judges observed: “A perusal of the order dismissing the petitioners indicates that it was passed necessarily on the report of the inquiry officer. Before him, the petitioners are stated to have used abusive language with regard to senior officers. They had torn the report and walked out uttering undesirable words and had threatened the officer. The important fact that there existed a situation like a mutiny is not a part of the report.... We allow the writ petition and quash the impugned orders”.

Pre-arrest bail for Dalal

Issuing notice to the Advocate-General of Haryana, Mr Justice K.S. Kumaran of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed that MLA Karan Singh Dalal shall be released on bail if he was sought to be arrested in a cheating and forgery case.

Dalal was apprehending arrest in an FIR registered by the State Vigilance Bureau on May 2 under Sections 406, 409, 418, 420, 468, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC, besides under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the prosecution, Dalal, while functioning as the Forest Minsiter, had misused his powers and had ordered the purchase of spurious and artificial fertiliser for different forest divisions.

Today, pronouncing the orders in open court, Mr Justice Kumaran issued notice for May 21 and observed: “If in the meantime the petitioner is sought to be arrested on the basis of allegations found in the FIR mentioned in the petition, he shall be released on bail upon furnishing sufficient surety to the satisfaction of the arresting officer”.

Notice issued to PPSC

On a petition seeking directions to the Punjab Public Service Commission for publishing the results of all candidates who had appeared and qualified for eight posts of PCS (Judicial), the High Court on Tuesday issued notice of motion to the Commission for May 30.

Seeking directions to the PPSC to send the list of qualified candidates to the state of Punjab for forwarding it to the HC for enrollment in a register maintained by the Court, advocate Rajneesh Garg of Faridkot, in his petition, had also sought directions to the respondents for filling up the vacancies arising in the next two years from the list of qualified candidates.

He had stated that the merit list, along with the list of qualifying candidates, had been withheld by the PPSC even though the examination result was required to be published and notified as per the rules.

The petitioner had added that the PPSC was bound to send the list of all candidates qualifying the test irrespective of the fact whether they had been selected or not.


Court martial acquits General
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
An Army General being tried by a General Court Martial on charges of remaining absent without leave has been acquitted. The trial concluded at Ferozepore last week.

Major-Gen Rattan Kaul, Army Service Corps, Northern Command, was facing disciplinary action for remaining absent for two days without proper authority. It was alleged that while he had been on temporary duty to Chennai, he had proceeded to Bangalore without authorisation. He has been found not guilty of the said charge.

Another Major-Gen, V.K. Arjuna is also facing disciplinary action for alleged professional impropriety. A court of inquiry initiated against his actions is awaiting directions.

Both Generals were alleged to have been involved in some unsavoury incidents while in Bangalore. One of the them was reportedly seriously injured after he was hit on the head by a woman. He was admitted to Military Hospital in Bangalore, where he was placed on the Dangerously Ill List. It was this incident of which brought the matter to light. The Generals were reported to be vying for promotion and had blamed each other for hatching a conspiracy to eliminate the other from the race.


HC directive to government counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the counsel for the Government of India to find the outcome of the letter written by Panjab University seeking approval for enforcing the amended regulation of increasing the age of superannuation of the faculty members to 62.

The court has also ruled that the pay drawn by Dr G.C. Bansal and eight other professors for the period they worked after attaining the age of 60 years can not be recovered. The court has further ordered the university to release terminal benefits to the petitioners.

The petitioners had initially filed a writ petition seeking directions for extension of service period to the age of 62 years in light of the UGC recommendations. However, the petition was rendered infructuous after a decision to this effect was taken by the PU Senate in March 1999. In a letter dated December 22, 1999, this decision of the Senate was sought to be ratified by the Government of India, the reply to which is still awaited by the university.

This delay on part of the government has caused an uncertainty among the professors who are serving beyond the age of 60 years. But the High Court orders have come as a relief for them.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice R.S. Mongia and Mr Justice K.C. Gupta have directed: “Let the terminal benefits accruing to the petitioners on the assumption that they had retired at the age of 60 years be released by the university before May 31’’.

The judges observed: ‘‘We do not find any impediment in the way of the university to release all terminal benefits to the petitioners on the assumption that they had retired at the age of 60 years’’.They added :‘‘Of course, the pay which has already been drawn by the petitioner for working for the period from 60 to 62 years cannot be recovered.’’ They further directed ‘‘Mr Gurpreet Singh, counsel for Government of India to find the outcome of the letter of the university and if the approval has not been granted so far, to find out how long would it take to make a final decision in the matter.’’

Sources, however, state that the Central Government has written to the Punjab Government asking for its comments on the matter, but the Punjab Government has not replied and now the Central Government is likely to take a decision on its own. There is a possibility that the age of retirement remains 60 years. The state of affairs is likely to become clear on May 31, when the counsel for the Government of India comes back with the reply.

Following the UGC’s recommendations, the PU senate had resolved in March, 1999 that ‘‘steps be taken to change the conditions of service of teachers by amending regulations of the university and colleges, so that the age of retirement becomes 62’’, it also stated that ‘‘in the interregnum and in view of the interim direction granted to similarly placed persons by the High Court, as also in view of the proposal being sent to the Government of India for increase in age of retirement of teachers from 60 years to 62 years, persons retiring during this period be permitted to continue at their own risk and responsibility, subject to and in anticipation of the approval of the Government of India”.


Blank signed certificate produced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A prosecution witness, Major S.S. Bajaj, while deposing before the general court martial of Maj V.K. Madhan, today found himself in a fix after the defence produced a blank leave certificate and movement order signed by him.

The court observed that both documents, pertaining to the accused’s travel to Dehradun to escort the mortal remains of a regimental officer as well as casual leave in June, 1999, did not bear the relevant dates of the number of days he was supposed to be away from the unit.

Deposing before the court, Major Bajaj said that he did not recollect whether he had issued the movement order and the leave certificate to the accused or other men who accompanied the body of Major Vivek Gupta. He added that it was incorrect to suggest that the aforesaid leave certificates and movement orders were issued without leave being asked for.

The witness stated that it was correct to suggest that he had stated during the summary of evidence that the accused was not fit and hence he had officiated as the company commander during the attack on Three Pimples.

Later, during questions by the court, Major Bajaj stated that the accused might have brought the leave certificate and the movement order to him when he was signing a lot of other documents and it might be due to oversight that he left blank spaces before he signed the papers.

In response to another question, the witness stated that he was convinced that the accused was not likely to be fit for the next 10-15 days and the effect of a senior officer repeatedly reporting sick at such a juncture would have a negative effect on the men. Therefore, he did not ask the accused to go for a medical re-examination after the expiry of the three-day rest period advised by the Field Surgical Centre.

Meanwhile, in the other ongoing GCM of Major Maneesh Bhatnagar, several allegations were made by the defence on the conduct of the Judge Advocate (JA). Stating that the JA was instrumental in misleading the court and giving it improper advice, Major Bhatnagar alleged that the JA had remained absent without leave on several occasions. He added that the JA had been going to Delhi and Udhampur to seek directions on conducting the trial.

The court, however, refused to accept a written submission on the conduct of the JA, instead directing the accused to forward such submissions to the convening authority.

After several questions put by the accused to his commanding officer, Col A.K. Srivastava, during the cross-examination were disallowed, Major Bhatnagar submitted that provisions of Army Rules 77 and 92 were not being complied with and his questions were being disallowed without giving him a chance to explain their relevance. He added that questions could not be disallowed on the grounds of relevance alone. He also maintained that grounds were being created to curtail the cross-examination of the witness.

The court also warned the accused that questions being put by him to the witness were repetitive and irrelevant. He was advised to restrict himself to the relevant facts or the cross-examination would be closed. The court also witnessed heated arguments between the accused and the Judge Advocate as well as the presiding officer on the relevance of the questions and acceptance of his submissions.


Writ against Aulakh disposed of
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A writ petition filed by two doctors for quashing the appointment of Dr K.S. Aulakh was today disposed of after counsel for Punjab Agriculture University stated that the respondent was no longer discharging the duty of Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Delivering the verdict on the petition filed by Dr Balwant Singh and Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal, Mr Justice R.L. Anand observed: “It is conceded case that by virtue of an order dated March 16, Dr Aulakh is no longer discharging the function of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor. In these circumstances, the writ petition has virtually become infructuous”.

Mr Justice Anand added: “It will always be open for the petitioners to take all pleas they had taken in the present writ petition against any subsequent or consequential appointment if made by the university against the Post of the Pro- Vice-Chancellor”.

Challenging the appointment, the petitioners had earlier stated that the same was against the rules. The post, they had added, was not in existence when Dr Aulakh was appointed.


A tribute to Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Hurbux Latta’s name may not be very familiar in the mainstream Punjabi cinema, but he has a long list of sensible projects on Sikh history and culture to underline his worth as a director. Those who take interest in the grandeur of Sikh heritage remember Hurbux for his recent work “Bole So Nihal” which captured the essence of Sikhism very convincingly. The director, who is the son of veteran Punjabi playwright Dr Harcharan Singh, is now back with another assignment, this time as tribute to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

This time, however, there is one aberration from the past. And that lies in the personation of Maharaja’s character. After Punjab Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh graced the muhurat shot of the multi-media project titled “Sher-e-Panjab” this morning at Rock Garden, Hurbux spoke to this correspondent about how he went about seeking SGPC’s permission to recreate the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This is the first time ever that the Maharaja’s role is being enacted. Arjun Singh is playing the title role in the film. Maiden screening of the project will be held at Rock Garden on July 7, to coincide with the date of occupation of Lahore by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Throughout the conversation, Hurbux focused primarily on the greatness of Ranjit Singh as a ruler. It seemed that he was thoroughly in awe of the character which he had worked hard to portray in the one hour 45 minute project, which combines film, drama, light and sound to create a magical panorama. The film sieves relevant incidents from the 40 years of Khalsa Raj and portrays them with the help of 30 artistes and 20,000 watt sound system.

Ever since Hurbux walked out of the New York University with a degree in film language, he has been engaged in portraying the best in Sikh culture. “Although such projects don’t sell, I feel committed to them. I have read a lot to work on the present project.” The entire effort is to tell the world about a great ruler who secured the Western Frontier from Afghan invaders forever. Not just that, he also restored the nation’s pride by bringing back the doors of Somnath Temple which had been looted by Mehmud Ghazni. Another aspect highlighted through the project is the amazing unity shared by people during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The most delightful part of the show is the flexibility of the medium it has been portrayed in”, said the director, and added “the beauty is that the artistes travel from one medium to another: from film to drama or light and sound to drama or drama to film. It’s a rare spectacle for the audience.”

The director was largely convinced with the way the project is going, except for the cost part of it. He said, “We have not received any help from the government. Even for “Bole So Nihal” there was hardly any support.” There, however, is some hope, with Punjab Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh clapping the muhurat shot of the film this morning at Rock Garden.

As for the acting part, the film has 30 artistes, many of them local, including Sudesh Sharma, Parvesh Sethi, Rajiv Mehta, T.B. Gandhi, B.N. Sharma. The script has been written is by Hurbux’s father Dr Harcharan Singh and the music is by H.M. Singh. 


Myriad hues of Bhakra’s history come alive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
For the Bhakra Beas Management Board family it surely was an evening to cherish. As thousands associated with the realisation of a dream called Bhakra got together at the Tagore Theatre today to celebrate the Raising Day, the mirth and merriment took over the ambience, and naturally so.

These people have much to celebrate, for they serve to fulfil the most impending needs of the nation. Representatives of the four states effected by Bhakra work and plan under the centralised control of the management, which has the credit of solving much of the country’s power problem.

The beauty of today’s show lay in its coherence. The organisers used the medium of performing arts to bring to life the glory which Bhakra dam begot for the nation. Constructed 740 feet high, and dedicated to the nation on October 22, 1963, this dam is the biggest in Asia. Using light and sound techniques, the making of the Bhakra Dam was presented before the audience. Further zing to the evening was added when one saw the silhouette of Jawahar Lal Nehru on the screen and heard the wonderful lines with which he had dedicated this dream project to the nation.

He had said: “With Bhakra coming to life, we have created history. Anybody who is a part of great things naturally shares a quantum of this greatness. I congratulate you on this amazing accomplishment.”

On the cultural front, the evening took off with a “Saraswati vandana” presented by children of BBMB School, Nangal. This was followed by a welcome song by the Executive Engineer at BBMB, Mr Trilochan Singh. The song, written and composed by Trilochan Singh, was very meaningfully worded. It went: “Aana tera mubarak tashrif laane wale, khushiyaan mana rahe hain, bijli banane wale...”

The main part of the show was the cultural programme which showcased best dances of the four states under BBMB — Punjab’s “bhangra” and “giddha”, Haryana’s “ghoomer”, Rajasthan’s dance and Himachal Pradesh’s “Nati”. Colourfully-dressed up children and their graceful movements were a visual treat.

The show was compered by Mr Vijay Vashishtha and the chief guest for the evening was the Punjab Power Minister, Mr S.S. Malooka.


Musical evening at Tagore Theatre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Majlis Journalists and Artists Association (MJAA) will be paying a tribute to Alfred Baba, a son of legendary Hawain guitar player, late Sammy Daula, by organising a programme, Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar Nite, at Tagore Theatre tomorrow at 6.15 pm.

Alfred, who himself was a Spanish guitar player, died at the age of 30 of a massive heart attack. He was a regular member of the MJAA. The Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr N.K. Arora, will be the chief guest and the Advocate-General, Punjab, Mr H.S. Mattewal, will be the special guest.

The programme is open to all music lovers.

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