Monday, June 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Woman abduction case takes new turn
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The much publicised three-month-old abduction case of a middle-aged woman, Bimla Devi, allegedly abducted and married off to some person by a city financier is set to become one of the most intriguing crime case in recent times as it has now come to light that the woman was allegedly murdered a fortnight after she had disappeared.

While for the past three months the police has been trying to locate the whereabouts of the woman, and of late her husband also, who had also gone missing since last week of April, the Dehlon police which falls in Jagraon police district last evening received an affidavit that the woman was murdered on March 17 at Kila Raipur and the police had cremated her ‘unidentified’ body a day later.

The affidavit sworn in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) carries the thumb impression of Sant Ram Dagri who was accused of having married the abducted woman forcibly at the behest of a city-based financier. According to the affidavit, the woman was allegedly murdered by the financier, Parmod Goyal, who had been earlier accused of having abducted the woman and marrying her off forcibly to teach her husband a lesson as he had not returned Rs 70,000 of the financier.

Mr Nirabhjit Singh, SHO, Dehlon police, confirming the receipt of the affidavit said the body was found near Kila Raipur railway station on March 17. The woman seemed to be murdered ruthlessly as her abdomen was cut in half by a sharp-edged weapon. As no one identified the body, the police cremated it on March 18. However, he said the police would question more people before officially declaring it as the body of Bimla Devi. He said the police has started investigations. He added that there was a possibility that the body was not of Bimla Devi and the affidavit might have been sent to mislead the police.

Interestingly, Parmod Goyal, financier accused, of abducting the woman and murdering her, went on his own to the Dehlon police after he learnt about the discovery of the body from some friend.

He alleged that he was being falsely implicated by his business rivals in the case. He said one of his friends who was also known to his business rivals had received a telephone call that now they have caught Parmod Goyal in deep trouble by implicating him in the murder case. The financier had taken his friend with him to the Dehlon police and to the SP (D), Mr R.S. Sandhu, to show that he was being falsely implicated in the case.

According to him he had no role in the disappearance and murder of the woman, ‘‘It is all the game plan of one Jagjit Singh Chawla who was my business rival.’’ He said even the Ludhiana police which was investigating into the disappearance case of the woman was convinced of his innocence. He said the writing style of the affidavit was same as that of other petitions and complaints filed against him by Mr Chawla and Chanderpal.

Mr Jagjit Singh Chawla when contacted said he had no knowledge about the recovery of the body and his name was being unnecessarily dragged into the case. He acknowledged that Parmod Goyal was his business rival and they were not on good terms, but now he had left the lottery business and had no enmity against him.

With so many allegations and counter-allegations along with the different twists of the case it would be pertinent to recall here that the woman, Bimla Devi, disappeared on February 28. A writ petition was filed by her husband Chanderpal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court accusing the Ludhiana police of inaction in the case. He also alleged that a city-based financier, Parmod Goyal, had given him a loan of Rs 70,000, but as he was unable to repay him, he had abducted his wife. Later Mr Jagjit Singh Chawla, a hosiery trader, had in a complaint with the police against Parmod Goyal accused him of having beaten him. He also alleged that the financier had also told him that he had forcibly married off Bimla as her husband had not returned his loan. He had threatened Jagjit Chawla of similar consequences.

Later Chanderpal also went missing and now the discovery about the woman’s murder has been made.

Chronology of events

  • Feb 28: Bimla Devi wife of Chanderpal allegedly abducted.
  • Mar 31: Chanderpal moves High Court accusing a city financier Parmod Goyal, of abducting his wife.
  • May 13: Jagjit Singh Chawla, a lottery trader, in a complaint to the police alleges that the same financier has threatened him also. He claims that the abducted woman has been forcibly married off to one Sant Ram Dagri. He produces photographs in support of his claim.
  • May 14: Chanderpal also goes missing. The financier, meanwhile, denies all allegations. He counter-alleges that it was all because of business rivalry.
  • May 22: Jagjit Singh Chawla along with five others is booked by the police for allegedly beating a bank agent.
  • June 2: Dehlon (Jagraon) police receives an affidavit with thumb impression of Sant Ram Dagri that the abducted woman Bimla was found murdered near Kila Raipur railway station on March 17 and the Dehlon police had cremated the body as unidentified on March 18.



3 Satluj Club members suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
For a change, the swimming pool of Satluj Club looked like a freestyle wrestling ring, with an extended family feud being settled there. Taking prompt action, the general secretary of the club Mr Ajit Singh Chawla, ordered the suspension of the three members, including a woman, for this incident. The suspension order was displayed on the notice board of the club.

According to club sources, the incident occurred around 8 p.m., when Rima Jain and her sister-in-law Sangeeta Jain were swimming in the club’s pool. Sangeeta’s husband, Anil Jain, alias Micky and her brother Ashok Oswal were also there.

Rima and Sangeeta are not on talking terms owing to a long prevailing family dispute. However, they entered into an argument with each other, which turned into an altercation. Blows were exchanged in the presence of several other members who were also swimming in the pool at that time.

For some time it was a free-for-all in the swimming pool. It was only after the intervention of some saner elements that the situation was defused, before it could take an uglier turn. The entire club seemed to converge on the swimming pool after listening to the loud shouts and abuses going on inside. On Saturday and Sunday nights, there is a huge rush of members in the club.

Acting instantly, the club general secretary Mr A.S. Chawla, issued the suspension orders of three members involved in the quarrel. The order, pasted on the notice board on the entrance of the club read, “the membership of Mr Anil Jain (Micky Jain) A/c No. 1025, Mrs Rima Jain, A/c No. 1046 and Mr Ashok Oswal A/c No 880 is hereby suspended under Rule 19-B as there was a quarrel in swimming pool/office between Mrs Sangeeta Jain w/o Mr Anil Jain, Mr Anil Jain, Mr Ashok Oswal and Mrs Rima Jain”.

Both Rima Jain as well as Sangeeta Jain have filed a complaint in Division No. 5 Police Station against each other. Rima’s husband Sunil Jain was murdered under mysterious circumstances. Rima had not been on talking terms with her brother-in-law and sister-in-law due to some family feud on account of business interests.

Recently, Rima had lodged a complaint with the police, accusing some people (not her in-laws) of trying to abduct her six-year-old son. However, she had already withdrawn the complaint.


Nepalese mourn death of royal family members
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
A pall of gloom descended on the entire Nepalese community living in Ludhiana over the tragic massacre of the royal family, which left most of its members dead. There are thousands of Nepalese living in Ludhiana, employed in various institutions and establishments.

King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya were shot dead by their own son and crown prince Dipendra, who also killed eight others, wiping out almost the entire royal family.

For most Nepalese, it was too shocking and tragic to be believed. But it was true. Although not much literate or politically conscious, yet the Nepalese loved their king, believing him to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Most of the Nepalese did not subscribe to the view that it was done by the crown prince, Dipendra and apprehended some grave conspiracy behind the massacre.

According to Arvind, who works in Satluj Club, it was too tragic to be believed. “One could believe the death of one or two members of the royal family due to some accident. But when the entire family is wiped out, you tend to refuse to believe it”, he remarked. He was feeling quite upset over the incident and wanted to be at home to share the grief along with other countrymen.

For Gopal Sharma it was the saddest day of his life. There may not be another day like this when tragedy would strike the entire nation on such a magnitude. “Have you ever heard of an entire family being wiped out?”, he asked. He apprehended some foul play by some enemies which led to wiping out of the entire royal family.

The grief and anguish of the Nepalese had, to be seen to be believed. Dev Bahadur who has been living in India for quite some time, did not eat anything since yesterday when he came to know about the tragedy. He pointed out, “The tragedy is such that nobody can console you. You have to bear it out within yourself”.

The Nepalese seem to have an emotional attachment with the royal family. They did not consider the family as their rulers, but as demi-gods, who would safeguard their interests. “It is not the demise of king and his family, but our own family members”, said Soni Thapa. For them the king is not a separate entity but a person who belongs to each of them.

Some Nepalese living in India recalled the love and affection King Birendra had for India. According to Darmer Singh, after the leftist parties assumed power, they tried to distance themselves from India as they believed India to be a threat to Nepalese identity. But King Birender put his foot down as he considered India to be an elder brother, who would always safeguard Nepalese interests.

Hari Prasad Sharma, who had been living in India for a long time, felt as if he had lost some personal belonging. “I never realised that I loved my King so much. Now only I feel how desperately I miss him and mourn his as well as his family’s death”, he said.


Dharna held outside police station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
Activists of the local unit of the Indian Mulsim League and a number of other residents of Basti Jodhewal, today staged a three-hour long dharna outside the Basti Jodhewal police station in protest against the alleged police inaction in the forcible closure of more than 10 houses of the community in the colony.

According to Mr Atiq-ur-Rehman, president of the council, the dharna was staged as the police did not arrest a number of influential people of the colony, who had first mercilessly beaten two persons on the charge of stealing a VCR and then had forcibly locked more than 10 shops and houses in Basti Jodhewal. These were opened only after the intervention of senior police officials. Mr Balwinder Singh, SHO Basti Jodhewal, was not available for comments.

Mr Rehman said a migrant labourer had hired a VCR and a TV from a shop in Kakewal Hira Singh Nagar three days ago, but had fled with them. The shop-owner picked up two other youths and along with some other persons, beat them for more than three hours with iron rods. They later handed over the two youths to the police.

Mr Rehman said even though the youths were innocent, the police had kept them in confinement. After the intervention of senior police officers, the Basti Jodhwal police released them, but did not take any action against the accused. Meanwhile the accused, along with other alleged local goons, forcibly locked shops and houses in the colony. He also threw out the belongings of the owners.


School boy missing
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
Another city boy, 12-year-old Rahees Khan, who went to his school, Krishna Model School, Radha Soami road, on May 31, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances, according to his father Rahim Khan , who is a migrant from UP and works as a barber in the city.

According to an FIR (Number 12) lodged yesterday at the Atam Park police post by the father of the child, the boy was wearing white shirt and grey trousers. Four-feet-tall Rahees, a student of Class VI, was also wearing a ‘tabeez’. According to the FIR, his parents had scolded him in connection with his studies. The father of the boy told Ludhiana Tribune that since he himself was an illiterate man he wanted his son to get educated. He said he could not keep a day-to-day tab on his studies to know whether he was excelling or lacking in studies.


Joint rally against WTO invasion
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
To oppose the anti-labour and anti-employee policies of the Central Government and its approval of the policies of the WTO and the World bank, a large number of unions and organisations have planned a rally here on June 21.

In a joint press note here today, Mr O. P. Mehta, Secretary, AITUC, Punjab, said that various organisations affiliated with AITUC, such as banks, LIC, Punjab State Electricity Board and Roadways employees, Khet Mazdoor Union, Istri Sabha, Naujawan sabha, Kisan Sabha, FCI Palledar Union and All India Student Federation would take part in the proposed rally in accordance with a decision taken recently at Ludhiana by union leaders.


Sutlej merits care

ONCE most of the Malwa region was a jungle. Our folk songs preserve an interesting imagery and significant similes. From Moga to Bathinda, there used to be rain-fed growth in patches. It had big sand dunes at many places.

Parts of Ludhiana and Ferozepur districts, and most of the princely states of this region, suffered from the changing moods of nature. The Sirhind Canal has changed all this. It controls the flow of water in the Satluj and also irrigates the Malwa region. This is not an ordinary water course. It is a life-line. A chain of mandis from Mullanpur to Fazilka and from Khanna to Jaito narrate the saga of the Satluj and the Sirhind Canal. The commercial growth of Ludhiana is linked with agricultural production of the area around it. If Chaura Bazar has earned a commercial status, the Sirhind Canal has provided for it.

The Sirhind Canal is a landmark of history. It was planned soon after the uprising of 1857. Land was surveyed and drawings were prepared. Integrated plans was made at Roorkee and the papers were sent to England. The material arrived at Ropar. Earthwork, bridge-building, embankment work, etc. were done fast. The canal was ready by 1882 and was inaugurated on November 24, 1882. Simple village folks wondered at syphons: Nullahs flowing under the canal. Canal flowing under the naddis!

This canal takes off from the left bank of the Satluj at Ropar. It enters Ludhiana district near Behlolpur and flows on to Neelon, Rampur and Doraha. About 2.5km downstream of the Doraha bridge on the G.T. Road, it reaches an irrigation-site known as the Bowani Regulator. From the left bank takes off the Patiala Feeder to take a south-easterly route. The main canal flows another 3.5km to reach the Manpur Regulator. Here it devides itself into three parts — Bathinda Branch , Abohar Branch and Sidhwan Branch. The Bathinda Branch flows by Rara Sahib to Bathinda, converting what was a sandy and arid wasteland into a rich wheat and cotton belt. The Abohar Branch takes the Ghawaddi-Sudhar route to areas of Moga tailing at Abohar-Fazilka. The Sidhwan Branch is a post-partition gift to Ludhiana, Moga and Ferozepur districts. It is the youngest of the trio. Poets of Rampur eulogise the Sirhind Canal, calling it the ‘eldest daughter of the Satluj’. The poets of Ludhiana are either silent or indifferent to the Sidhwan Canal, grand which is a landmark of this city.

There was a fear that the canals would cause water-logging. Agricultural lands once afflicted with salinity cannot be reclaimed easily. Fortunately, water-logging was arrested to some extent through a drainage system Irrigation by tube-wells is playing havoc with the underground water reserves. The water table is falling The Sirhind Canal and its branches are doing a partial replenishment.

As regards the Sidhwan Branch it runs through several new colonies of this city. We are collectively responsible for its bad health. Its depth is decreasing, silt is increasing and it presents an ugly spectacle. When it is closed, it emits a foul smell. The city has to rise collectively to save this gift of the Irrigation Department. The Municipal Corporation should lead the citizens. The Sirhind Canals has transformed Punjab economically. Let Ludhianvis transform its daughter, the decaying Sidhwan Canal, into a health-promoting artery of the city.


Irregularities in garden project alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
Mr Bal Kishan Pappi, general secretary, DCC(I), at a press conference here today alleged that irregularities were being committed in the construction of the Mini Rose Garden at the old jail farm site in Kidwai Nagar.

Addressing newspersons, the Congress leader said that the contract of the project had been given to a Delhi-based firm for nearly Rs one crore. Since the project did not appear to be expensive, he demanded that the Municipal Corporation make public all the papers and facts concerning the project.

He said he, along with some other party workers, had been pestering various corporation officials for the details of the project, but had failed to get a satisfactory reply. He said that because serious irregularities were being committed in the whole exercise, the party demanded total transparency in public interest. He asked that the company given the contract for the project should be made to face the press to clarify certain doubts about the costs involved and the landscape plan of the proposed garden.

Mr Bal Kishan Pappi, threatened to launch an agitation if his demands were not heeded to by the authorities concerned in the near future.


District Akali leaders back Dhillon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
A public meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was held here today at Model Town gurdwara. The meeting was chaired by the acting district president of the party, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar. It was organised to felicitate the youth Akali leader, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, for his efforts to strengthen the party.

The meeting which was attended by hundreds of party workers also passed a unanimous resolution urging upon the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who is also the President of the SAD(B), to field Mr Dhillon from the Ludhiana rural assembly segment.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Makkar pointed out that Mr Dhillon had successfully performed the duties he had been assigned by the Chief Minister. He claimed that the youth Akali leader worked tirelessly in the Assembly segment and organised so many party meetings there. Besides, Mr Makkar claimed that the developmental projects got a boost after he assumed the charge of the constituency. The acting district president of the party urged Mr Badal that it would be in the interest of the party to field Mr Dhillon from Ludhiana rural since he had established a strong party network there by doing a lot of developmental work.

Acknowledging the trust reposed in him by the party workers, Mr Dhillon assured them that he would try his level best to come up to their expectations. He said it was immaterial whether he was given the party ticket or not, what mattered was the commitment and sincerity towards the party and its programme. He declared that he would continue to work tirelessly under the leadership of Mr Badal in whichever capacity he wanted him to.


FCI union plans to hold rallies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The All-India Food Corporation of India Employees Union has decided to expose the ‘self-destructive policy’ of the management. The union is opposing the government’s decision under which the FCI would not provide labour to the state warehousing and central warehousing corporation for storing foodgrains in the newly constructed godowns. In a recent circular, the management has decided to provide 5 per cent and 15 per cent of the total cost of foodgrains as supervision and loading and unloading charges to the state warehousing and central warehousing corporation.

At a meeting held here today, Mr Amarnath Koomkalan, state general secretary of the union, said, “The FCI has its own permanent labour whereas the state and centre warehouse corporations have no labour at all. The decision of the FCI not to provide labour will result in burden worth of crores of rupees on the public.The unions will oppose the decision”.

The FCI unions will hold district-level rallies at the FCI offices from June 13 to August 2 to oppose the government’s policy to privatise the FCI and other demands. The unions will also hold a rally at New Delhi on August 8.


Hike in phone rentals resented
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 3
Hefty telephone bills have aroused great resentment among subscribers here, rentals for which were raised from rupees 120 to rupees 180 per month and arrears of revised rent from April to August last, at the rate of Rs 60 per month were also included in the bills, according to Mr D.P. Jindal, general secretary of the chemists association, Mandi Gobindgarh, in a press note released here today.

Enquiries from the local exchange office revealed that the rentals were charged on the basis of capacities of the short distance charging arrears (SDCAs) and since the capacity of sub-division charging area (SDCA) of Nabha, which comprises 22 rural and urban exchanges had exceeded 30,000 lines on April last year, as such the enhanced rates of rentals, according to rules, had to be included in the bills.

Prior to August, 1998, telephone rentals were charged on the basis of capacity of the local exchange, but after that, the rentals were being levied as per the total capacity of the SDCA.

Lakhs of telephone subscribers all over the country were being penalised to the tune of crores of rupees annually by charging higher rentals, said Mr D.P. Jindal.

Mr Jindal further added that a telephone facility was no longer a luxury, but had become a necessity. The hike in rentals had further burdened the common man. All claims of the government to provide telephones at affordable rates, had been belied. So the government should withdraw the policy of revised rentals and introduce the earlier policy of rentals according to the capacity of the local exchange, he said.


Zonal office of bank opened
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
The zonal office of the Bank of India was opened yesterday at Model Town here. The new zone will be headed by Mr H.S.Bhatia, Deputy General Manager. The particular zone will be having control over 72 branches located in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhatia said the purpose of opening the zonal office was to expedite decision making for the benefit of customers.The bank decided to abolish one tier of the organisational structure from June 1, 2001, for better control and monitoring. He assured prompt and efficient customer services as all their branches were now computerised.

Mr Bhatia said the Bank of India had a large network of over 2,500 branches, of which, 19 were situated in foreign countries. He said the bank had recently introduced a scheme for senior citizens which offered 1 per cent higher rate of interest on term deposits for maturities over one year.


People urged to cooperate with police
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 3
Without public cooperation it is impossible to reduce the number of crimes, the public should inform police whenever any suspected person comes to their notice, stated Mr Jagbir Singh, SHO , Amloh, in his first joint meeting with the councillors, sarpanches, public and press reporters in the police station on Saturday evening.

The SHO discussed at length the urgency of thikri pehras (night vigil). He suggested to hire unemployed youth of the village for night vigil and to pay them out of collections made from the persons, who cannot perform their night duties.

When his attention was drawn towards the activities of “sata mafia”going on unchecked in the city for the past many years, the SHO assured to take prompt legal action against the persons involved in this trade.

Other issues including traffic control, sale of spurious drugs by chemists, migrant labour and, Anti-social elements were also discussed.


Missing draft case solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The local police today claimed to have solved a case of theft of two sacks of letters and parcels of Fast Flight Courier company with the arrest of a youth, Baljinder Bij.

According to a press note of the police, it recovered drafts worth Rs 2.5 lakh from his house.


3 held for immoral trafficking
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
Three persons, including two women, were arrested by the city police this evening on charges of immoral trafficking.

The persons were caught red-handed in a raid at a rented house in Chet Singh Colony. Two customers and an agent, however, managed to flee. According to DSP Gurjit Singh, the gang was operating through an auto-rickshaw driver.


Apparel park to boost garment industry
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 3
Being a leader in cotton production, Punjab can boost the garment industry by setting up an integrated apparel park. The centre has made a provision of Rs 10 crore for the park in the Budget for 2001-2002.

Enquiries made by The Tribune show that the cotton production in Punjab will increase with the campaign to reduce area under paddy. Last year cotton growers got good price of their produce compared with the prices of the last few years. Moreover, there was a fall in the cotton production too due to the attack of the American bolloworn.

The captains of the textile industry feel that due to better market prices and high yielding varieties being made available to the farmers, the cotton growing area in the state particularly the Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Ferozepur and Faridkot districts will see an increase.

A major leap in the cotton production can be fairly estimated in the coming years as had been witnessed in 1989-90 and 1992-93. They feel that once again Punjab will emerge as a major cotton production state in the country.

Punjab can give a boost to the garment industry by setting up the park.

To facilitate the establishment of such a park, the Centre has deserved the garment industry for small scale. Now the technological know-how and foreign direct investments are already available for setting up garment manufacturing units in the country.

The cotton textile mills in Punjab are involved in the manufacture of woven fabric with the latest technology and are producing more than 100 million square meters of fabric per annum.

The establishment of the park near Ludhiana will be an added advantaged. The entrepreneurial skills among the businessmen of this industrial hub can be instrumental in the establishment of such an park.

However, the Punjab Government will have to amend the labour laws as already done in the case of the information technology industry in the state where women are allowed to work till 10 p.m.

The centre has set target of exporting textile products worth $50 billion to be achieved by 2010 from the present level of $12 billion under the textile policy.

The textile industrialists opine the Ladowal focal point near Ludhiana where 1,250 acres are earmarked for the industrial focal point can be converted into an integrated apparel park.

This focal point can be established as a textile estate with spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and processing and apparel manufacturing units.

The Punjab Chief Minister, addressing a meeting of the industrialists, announced the establishment of a hosiery R & D centre for Ludhiana which can also be located in the proposed focal point.

However, the PSIEC has not been able to settle the price of the land and norms for the allotment of plots in the focal point at Ladowal so far.


Plea to shift industrial units
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
The Environmental and Welfare Association of the New Janta Nagar and Simlapuri localities has reiterated its demand for shifting of industrial units in order to save the residents from alarming level of air, water and noise pollution, caused by the industry and to uphold the spirit of six Town Planning Schemes, formulated for these localities between 1981 and 1985.

Mr Sher Singh, president, and Mr A. S. Saini, secretary, of the association, said that the civic body should maintain a clear line of distinction between the industrial and residential areas and in the wake of recent decision of the apex court on shifting of industrial unit from Delhi colonies.

Challenging the claim of certain vested interests to declare these colonies as a notified industrial area, they maintained that according to latest figures on number of power connections, there were more than 25,000 domestic connections as against 4425 industrial connections in the localities along the Gill road from the Campa Cola chowk onwards.

Mr Sher Singh made an appeal to the industrial units to take an initiative at their own level to shift to notified industrial areas and provide relief to the residents, including women and children, who were made to suffer the hazards of massive environmental pollution from industrial units.

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