Saturday, August 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

2 more held in Phoolan case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The police was today trying to ascertain the identity of the mystery man who was masquerading as Ravinder and had supposedly assisted the prime suspect, Pankaj, alias Sher Singh Rana, in the gunning down of Mrs Phoolan Devi, even as two more persons were arrested today and remanded in day’s police custody.

This has become imperative since it has now been established that Ravinder was actually in Hardwar jail on the day of the incident. Ravinder along with his two other associates, Shekhar and Rajbir had tried to surrender in the Saharanpur courts two days after the incident and were arrested subsequently. All of them had expressed their ignorance and had claimed that they had heard of the assassination on the TV news.

The prime suspect, Pankaj had reportedly confessed to the police soon after his surrender in Dehra Dun that Ravinder was his accomplice and he was the one who had shot at and injured the Personal Security Officer (PSO) of the late Samajwadi Party MP.

The police believe that the suspect had misled the police deliberatly in order to give time to the other suspect masquerading as Ravinder to make good his escape.

Meanwhile, the police claimed to have arrested two more persons — a lawyer whom the suspects had reportedly consulted before the incident and another person who had allegedly supplied them with weapons used in the murder.

The two arrested today were identified as Praveen Mittal, an advocate and Amit Rathi, the alleged arms supplier. The two had earlier been questioned by the Uttranchal Police. With this, the total number of persons arrested so far has gone up to seven.

The others arrested are Pankaj, alias Sher Singh Rana, the prime suspect, Ravinder, alias Rajinder, Shekhar, Rajbir and Keshav Chauhan, the person who had reportedly picked up the guns after the July 25 incident and hid them in the garage.

Police sources claimed that the crime branch sleuths were also trying to ascertain from Chauhan if the guns were planted in the garage much later as the Special Protection Group (SPG) responsible for the safety of the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their families had sanitised the house before the visit of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee the next day, July 26.

These sources said that it was unlikely that the weapons would have escaped the SPG since they were highly specialised and carry sophisticated detection equipment.

These sources said that the detectives were waiting for the ballistics report of the Central Forensic Science Laborotary (CFSL) to ascertain if these weapons were used in the murder or not. Two other guns which were recovered from the green Maruti car used by the suspects are also with the CFSL.

The police said it was possible that both Sher Singh Rana and Keshav Chauhan were part of the conspiracy and had deliberately misled the police by making contradictory claims to buy time for the ring leaders to escape and go into hiding.

Meanwhile, Keshav Chauhan, Amit Rathi and Parveen Mittal, were remanded in a day’s police custody by a Delhi court today.

Granting a day’s police remand, Metropolitan Magistrate Mahesh Gupta asked the police to produce three accused in the court tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Phoolan Devi’s sister Munni today came out with a startling allegation that the slain MP’s husband Umed Singh conspired against Phoolan for the killing and declared that she was prepared to contest elections from the Mirzapur constituency on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

Addressing a press conference in the lobby of the Uttar Pradesh sadan with her mother Moola Devi and brother Shiv Narayan Nishad, Munni Devi alleged that Umed Singh in connivance with Uma Kashyap, who arrived at Phoolan’s 44 Ashoka Road residence a few hours before the killing, and prime suspect Sher Singh hatched the conspiracy.


VC alleges threat to life
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia today claimed that he faced a threat to his life from the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) leadership and requested the state government to provide him adequate security.

The Vice-Chancellor alleged that certain elements in the presently PUTA leadership might take recourse to violent acts, like apprehended murderous attack on him, as a last resort. He said the “self concocted” threat allegedly from the Vice-Chencellor to PUTA president Bhupinder Singh Khaira which was “disclosed” to the Press yesterday seemed to be a pre-emptive, diversionary and clever move preparatory to the apprehended attack on him, “As per incoming information from many sides over the past few days.”

Dr Ahluwalia claimed that August had apparently been chosen for his assassination when the annual elections to PUTA would be held. He said the present PUTA leadership would like to bag a “sensational” score over the rival PUTA organisation. He said similar accusations were made against another Vice-Chancellor that he had threatened physical elimination through terrorist elements.

The Vice-Chancellor said regarding the admission of PUTA chief’s son to MCA course the office had suspected that the passport of the non-resident Indian sponsor had expired. He said due to this it became his duty to check the authenticity of the documents adding being the son of the PUTA president did not confer immunity on a candidate.

Meanwhile the parallel PUTA organisation in a separate press release claimed that PUTA president Dr B.S. Khaira was making misleading statements. The organisation president, Dr Manjit Singh said Dr Khaira along with his team was damaging the image of the university consistently.

Meanwhile the United Teachers Front (UTF) and the Sikh Intelligentsia Forum (SIF) have also condemned the statement of the PUTA president alleging he had been threatened with dire consequences by the Vice-Chancellor. They said PUTA president had made this statement to blackmail the university authorities into giving admission to his son in the MCA course. 


Water to cost more in Haryana
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
With the introduction of a grading system in water tariff charges, water will cost more in Haryana.

The hiked charges of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), varying between 25 to 300 per cent, are awaiting government notification.

In the wings is the proposed hike by the PWD (Public Health), awaiting a nod of the Cabinet committee. The proposed increase in the water supplied by the Public Health Department to the rural sector is as much as 50 per cent while the departments are all set to follow the HUDA pattern in the urban areas.

Discarding the earlier policy of charging a flat rate of Re 1 per kilo litre, HUDA has approved charges of Rs 1.25 per kilo litre for consumption upto 15 kl, Rs 2.50 per kl for consumption between 15 kl and 30 kl and Rs 4 beyond 30 kl of consumption.

"The maximum consumption of an average household is 30 kl per month. On the basis of this statistics, we have increased the tariff nominally. However, consumption beyond 30 kl is a luxury and has been increased by 300 per cent only to serve as a deterrent,'' an official of HUDA said.

Approved in the meeting of the authority, the new rates, department officials claim, are still lower than the charges in Chandigarh and on par or a little less than the rates in other states."Earlier, the charges were heavily subsidised. Now, the subsidy has only been cut marginally,'' he added.

For the industrial and commercial establishments, the revised rates are Rs 4 per kl against the existing rate of Rs 2.20 while that for multi-storeyed complexes and colonies has been hiked from Re 1 to Rs 2.80 per kl.

Besides this, the charges of defective or lost water meters has gone up from 10 per cent to 50 per cent on the basis of the plot area. The sewerage charges have been revised from Rs 5 per month to Rs 20 per month for every toilet seat.

Meanwhile, when contacted, an official of the PWD said that they were also considering a hike in charges. In rural areas, the charges for every tap every month are being increased from Rs 20 to Rs 30 .

In urban areas, the increase will be more where a tap per month costs Rs 25 at present. This will also be replaced by a slab system on the lines of the proposed hike by HUDA. The official said the revised rates would be approved by the Cabinet committee before these are made public.

Revised water rates of HUDA
Consumption  Present tariff Proposed tariff Increase
Upto 15 kl Re 1 per kl Rs 1.25 per kl 10%

15kl to 30 kl 

Re 1 per kl 

Rs 2.50 per kl 

150 %

Beyond 30 kl 

Re 1 per kl 

Rs 4 per kl  300%

Sewerage (one WC) 

Rs 5 

Rs 20 


Revised rates of PWD (per month)

Rural  Rs 20 per tap  Rs 30  50 %


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