Monday, July 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Police says it has cop’s killer, villagers contest
No link with Jagraon rape case: police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The Jagraon police has claimed that Yadvinder Singh Yadoo, a Punjab police constable and a key witness in the Jagraon rape case, who was murdered on July 19, was killed by contract killers hired by a youth named Lakhbir Singh Bholla of Bassian village.

The youth has already been arrested. The police says that he hired three persons for killing Yadoo to settle a personal score with him. Yadoo reportedly owed him Rs 4.5 lakh and the killers had sought Rs 1 lakh to finish off the constable.

However, dissatisfied with the police claim, the Jagraon Rape Case Action Committee plans to hold a dharna in Jagraon on August 10 to press for a CBI inquiry into the case. The committee suspects that Yadoo was killed because he was the main witness in the case in which a suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ashok Puri, was the main accused. A minor girl of Sidhwan bet village near Jagraon was allegedly raped by the DSP past year. Yadvinder Singh, who was then a gunman of the DSP, had allegedly been a witness to the rape.

According to the SSP of Jagraon, Mr Balkar Singh, the constable was shot dead by Baldev Singh, Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Harjinder Singh, who were allegedly hired by Lakhbir Singh. The alleged killers, who are also history-sheeters, are yet to be arrested. One of them, Baldev Singh, an escaped convict, is wanted by the police of several districts.

The SSP said Lakhbir Singh had given a Rs 4.5 lakh loan to the Yadoo and his brother Jaskaran Singh, but, the two parties had not been on good terms lately because Yadoo had not returned the money. The SSP said Yadoo and his brother had allegedly insulted Lakhbir Singh a number of times in public, which had forced him to plan the murder.

The SSP said the police had not found any evidence that linked the killing to the rape case.

However, the action committee questions this claim of the police. Members of the committee said it seemed unlikely that someone would want to kill a constable over a petty loan dispute.

They said it was also unlikely that anyone who had to recover Rs 4.5 lakh from a person would pay someone Rs 1 lakh to get that person killed, thus, losing Rs 5.5. lakh in the process and gaining nothing.


Nailed for ‘sins’ of predecessor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is holding one of its serving employees responsible for the alleged negligence of one of its former employees. It has issued a charge sheet to its present Press Manager for failing to produce certain files that contained the details of a reported loss of about Rs 3 lakh that the PAU had suffered during the tenure of one of his predecessors.

Rules say that employees of the PAU Press are industrial workers covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation Act. They can receive treatment in ESI hospitals, for which, the university pays a certain amount to the ESI Corporation annually.

However, if they receive treatment in the PAU hospital, the university seeks an exemption from paying this amount.

In this case, the PAU provided employees of its press with medicare in its own health institutions from 1986 to 1994, but the exemption was not sought. The ESI Corporation recovered about Rs 3 lakh from the PAU bank account after this and the university learnt this several years later.

Mr Kailash Chander Sarna, serving PAU Press Manager, has now been issued a charge sheet which says that an action will be taken against him for failing to produce certain old files of the case. The files have been missing for the past several years.

The charge sheet followed after Mr Kamal Mohan Chopra, a former PAU press manager under whose tenure the irregularity was committed, sought the files to submit as proof along with his reply to a charge sheet that had been issued to him in July 1999 in this case. The files have been untraceable all these years, for which, the serving Press Manager is being penalised.

Mr Chopra, who has now retired, had been issued the charge sheet for not taking up the matter with the ESI Corporation in time. The lapse made the PAU pay the corporation Rs 2,92,096 towards the contribution for the period between October 1986 and March 1994.

Mr Chopra took a voluntary retirement in February 1996 and the ESI had made a recovery in July 1997. The university initiated an inquiry into the case on July 17, 1997, and made Dr J.S. Kollar, Director Extension Education, the inquiry officer. In his report submitted in November 1998, Dr Kollar held Mr Chopra responsible for the loss. After this, the serving Press Manager initiated the process of chargesheeting Mr Chopra in January 1999, but the charge sheet was issued in July 1999, six months after the process had been initiated. Though its report held Mr Chopra responsible for the loss, the PAU provided him with all the retirement benefits. Sources said Mr Chopra had already filed a writ petition in the High Court to seek these benefits. The long delay in issuing a charge sheet to Mr Chopra had created a lot of controversy then. Sources said the Audit Department had raised an objection when the PAU had not challenged the decision of the High Court that gave Mr Chopra his retirement benefits. It feared that this would serve as a bad precedent.


Forum orders PSEB to refund deposit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has quashed the demand of Rs 11,387 by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from Mr Devi Dayal, a resident of Navi Mandi, Khanna.

The forum rather directed the PSEB to refund the amount deposited against the said demand along with an interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of deposit till the date of the actual payment.

According to the complaint, the board had raised a demand of Rs 11,387 on March 10, 2000 through a letter. The consumer had stated before the forum that it had been mentioned in the letter that it was a case of theft of power as the glass of the meter, which the board had removed from his house on February 22, 2000 was found tempered with.

The complainant disclosed that his wife was present at the time of the changing of the meter, but the copy of MCO was not given to her. He said his wife was verbally told that the meter was to be tested at the laboratory at Mandi Gobindgarh on February 25. But he did not receive any information regarding the checking of the meter from the board officials, he said.

It was alleged that the Dispute Settlement Committee had rejected his representation without hearing him and asked for the deposit of the amount due. The board pleaded that according to the laboratory report, the glass of the meter was found tempered with.

The respondent claimed that the consumer was duly intimated about the checking of the meter but he did not attend the checking at the laboratory. The demand was rightly raised and the complaint was liable to be quashed, it added.

The forum observed that there was no evidence to prove that the meter was properly packed and sealed before sending it to the laboratory which was a mandatory provision.

It further stated that the board did not issue any notice to the complainant to be present at the time of checking which was also necessary as per the procedure of the board.

The forum held that the demand was not raised as per the procedure and on technical grounds it was liable to quashed.


Crisis grips tool making units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
More than 75 per cent of 400 machine tool making units in the city have closed down during the past few years because of the low productivity and poor quality of the machines as compared to the imported ones. This has resulted in the loss of jobs for more than 15,000 labourers, said Mr Kirpal Singh Sagar, general secretary, Ludhiana Machine Tool Makers Association.

He said the small-scale units that used to produce machine tools worth about Rs 400 crore employing nearly 20,000 labourers have fallen in the red. The Rajkot and Bangalore units, the two other centres of machine tool industry, are trying to restructure with the help of the state governments by developing product kits to cut production costs and to improve quality, he said. However, the failure of the Punjab Government to extend liberal financial aid for the upgradation has badly affected the modernisation process in the state, Mr Sagar added.

The units had also failed to benefit from the R and D facilities of the Institute of Machine Tools and Technology, (IMTT) Batala, due to financial constraints.

The representatives of the tool industry said the high cost of the product designs by the Batala institute, around Rs 8 lakh per design, high power tariffs and the lack of awareness on part of the unit owners to modernise had left them far behind as compared to the foreign competitors. The annual production had come down to around Rs 100 crore besides the drastic fall in exports.

In a workshop held here, recently, by the IMTT and Central Machine Tools Institute, Bangalore, Mr Chander Shekhar, an expert in Engineering Design, had asked the manufacturers not to indulge in diversification so as to face the crisis they were undergoing. He had suggested that they should rather concentrate on marketing skills and vertical upgradation to cut costs.

A deputation of the industry is going to participate in the Machine Tool Manufacturers fair to be held at Hanover in Germany in September to study the developments in the industry.

Mr Kirpal Singh said, “The state and the Centre Governments should announce a package to provide liberal aid for modernisation and tax relief to safeguard the interests of the units and the labourers.”


Govt encouraging terrorism: Shiv Sena
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
The state unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) has accused the Punjab Government of attempting to revive terrorism in the state with an eye on winning the approaching Assembly elections by playing the Sikh card.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Pawan Sharma, state spokesman, and Mr Jagmohan Kaura, organising general secretary of the Hindu outfit, said the return of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan to Punjab at the fag end of the present government’s tenure was a step in that direction. The Shiv Sena leaders said that ever since his return, Dr Chohan had been advocating the cause of Khalistan through ‘ peaceful means’ but the government had not taken any notice of his utterances. They said both Zaffarwal and Dr Chohan should be put under house arrest and their movements restricted. If they were allowed to move about freely in the country, it could pose a serious danger to the unity and integrity of the country.

The leaders said the Punjab Government’s recent secret letters to all Deputy Commissioners to prepare a list of terrorists’ families in their respective districts for the purpose of giving them grants and other concessions was part of the chain of events which started with the return of Zaffarwal. This was part of a well-planned conspiracy to revive terrorism in the state and negate the sacrifices made by terrorism-victims during militancy in the state.

Finding fault with the thinking of the BJP on the issue, they further said that the party, in its lust for power, had forgotten all promises it had made with the people of Punjab. Lala Lajpat Rai, BJP MP from Ludhiana, came under special criticism for stating that he would welcome Zaffarwal on his return to the mainstream. The BJP seemed to be under the impression that it could not share power in Punjab without the help of the Akalis. This shortsightedness on the part of the BJP leadership would cost the state and the party dearly, added the leaders.

Speaking on the J and K issue, they said most of the Hurriyat leaders were heading one terrorist outfit or the other and as such these leaders should also be put under house arrest and their movements restricted. Hurriyat leaders were touring all over the country and instigating Muslims in other states against the Indian government and creating a strong base for a possible rebellion in the country. The leaders condemned the Union Home Minister’s recent statement that people of Kashmir could be given more special rights. They said that the statement, coming from a minister with the BJP background, was an amazing one, since the party had been advocating an abrogation of Article 370 under which Kashmiris already enjoy some special rights.

The Shiv Sena leaders said that the large-scale migration of Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits from the valley because of terrorism had created a serious imbalance of population ratio. This imbalanced ratio should be corrected by allowing Hindus to settle in the valley. The Shiv Sena was for treating Kashmir like other states of the country.

Reiterating the Indian stand that Kashmir is an integral part of India, the Shiv Sena leaders further stated that in view of the Agra fiasco and the attitude of the Pakistani General, the Shiv Sena would not allow the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to enplane for Pakistan unless and until General Pervez Musharraf apologises for his role in the Kargil war and accepts Kashmir as an integral part of India. He warned that the External Affairs Ministry should not announce any dates in this regard in a hurry because the Shiv Sena had made up its mind to start a country-wide agitation against the proposed visit of Mr. Vajpayee to Pakistan.

The leaders also gave a call to all Hindu organisations, religious and social, to unite under one banner in order to safeguard common Hindu interests more effectively. The Shiv Sena has plans to meet various leaders of different sects to evolve unity and cohesion under a single banner.

The Shiv Sena also urged the district administration to screen all Bangladeshi Muslims.

Mr Ravinder Arora, general secretary of the party’s state unit, said in view of the rising crime in the city, background of these Bangladeshis must be subjected to a thorough probe by the authorities concerned. He said most of these newly arrived Bangladeshis were living in the Focal Point area and slum areas of the city. A delegation of the party, headed by the district unit chief, Mr Sandip Mittal, would soon call upon the Deputy Commissioner and the DIG, Police, in this regard, he added.

Meanwhile, 20 office-bearers of the Hindu Suraksha Samiti and their supporters today formally joined the Shiv Sena.


Tributes paid to Grewal
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 29
The first death anniversary of Amarjit Singh Grewal, producer, Doordarshan Kendra, Jalandhar, and president, Gujjarwal Sports Club, was held today at Gujjarwal village, 25 km from here. He died last year following brain haemorrhage.

Representatives of various sports organisations were present at the function. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, while speaking on the ocassion said that the just completed indoor stadium in the village would be named after him. He also announced that the matric school of the village was upgraded.

Among those who were present on the ocassion were Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana, chairman, Agro Industries, Punjab, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, president, District Congress Committee ( Rural ), Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, both former ministers.


Sukhbir gives Rs 1 lakh to Rotary Club
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The SAD General Secretary and Rajya Sabha member, Mr Sukhbir Badal, has hit out at the Congress accusing it of having launched a campaign of vilification against his party. He claimed that the Congress had no issue against the SAD so it was levelling baseless charges against the party and the government.

Speaking on the installation ceremony of the newly elected team of the Rotary Club Ludhiana, he asserted that his party was not scared about elections and was already prepared for the same.

While lauding the work done by the club he said that the country can progress only if its people were dedicated to the social cause. He said that no development was possible without the help of NGOs, like the Rotary Club. He appreciated the achievements and projects being carried out by the club in Ludhiana. Appreciating the role of the club he announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the club.

On this occasion, Mr Sushil Gupta, past district Governor, appreciated the efforts of the club and announced to provide 160 pace makers to the needy heart patients.

Mr Sanjeev Sethi, newly elected president, and his team assured the club members and dignitaries to give better services and introduced new projects by their team of the club in the district. He announced that Rs 3 lakh would be spent for helping patients.

On this occasion the new team of the club also took over. It includes Mr R.D. Gera, the president elect, Mr S.S. Chopra, senior vice-president, Mrs Meera Puri, vice-president, Mr K.K. Chadha, secretary, Mr Mandeep Sethi, joint secretary, Mr D.P. Puri, treasurer and Mr B.D. Sharma, sergeant at arms. The board of directors includes Mr Harbhajan Singh Mr B.S. Bal, Mr Ravi Mohan Batta, Mr Akshay Vohra, Mr Jiwan Deep Singh Gahi and Mr A.S. Pandher.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Kuldip Singh, SSP, were also present on the occasion.



Robbers decamp with Rs 2.17 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Two unidentified scooter-borne youths robbed Rs 2.17 lakh from two employees of a petrol station at gunpoint, near Shingar Cinema, late last night. The youths waylaid the employees and snatched away the bag containing the cash from Sukhwinder Singh, the manager of the Highway petrol station.

The Division No. 6 police station has registered a case, but no clue about the identity of the miscreants could be made.

According to the complainants, Sukhwinder Singh and Manjit Singh, they were going home at about 10 p.m. when the miscreants halted them.

The victims could not identify the robbers as they were wearing helmets.


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