Friday, August 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CBI exposes cops’ extortion racket
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Central Bureau of Investigation has exposed an extortion racket being allegedly run by the Punjab Police during the hey days of terrorism.

The premiere investigating agency has now presented five challans against 13 police officials in the court of the Special Judicial Magistrate, Patiala. Their investigations have revealed an extortion racket being run by the Tarn Taran police during the year 1992-93, wherein they would falsely implicate certain well-to-do people in cases relating to illegal possession of arms and then force them to shell out money.

Sources in the CBI say their investigations have revealed that the indicted officials of Punjab Police had indulged in gross violation of human rights and had made huge fortunes by extorting money from people. The racket, was allegedly being run at the instance of SSP, Tarn Taran, Mr Ajit Singh Sandhu, now deceased and involved several Deputy Superintendents of Police, Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors posted in Tarn Taran during the year 1992- 93.

Challans have now been filed against the then DSPs Gurmeet Singh and Kashmir Singh Gill, Inspector Suba Singh, Sub-Inspectors of Police Baldev Singh, Harbans Singh, Bikramjit Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Avtar Singh and four ASI’s — Sukhdev Raj Joshi, Nirmal Singh, Darshan Lal and Harbhajan Singh. The name of the then SSP, Tarn Taran, Mr Ajit Singh Sandhu has been placed in Column No. 2. Non Bailable warrants have been issued against all these persons.

In compliance with the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, passed in a criminal writ petition of 1994 wherein a resident of Tarn Taran, Ms Surjeet Kaur, had alleged that her five male members were abducted by the Tarn Taran police in order to extort money from her husband, Baba Charan Singh. The latter was involved in the construction of gurdwaras all over the country and was flush with funds from various sources for the said purpose. He ultimately had to shell out around Rs 10 lakh in order to save his family from police atrocities.

The CBI investigations have also revealed that certain politicians were also involved with the police in aiding and abetting them for extorting money. The President of the Shaheed Pheruman Akali Dal, Mahant Sewa Dass, was also involved along with two other persons, Jagveer Singh and Surinder Hari Singh. The three had allegedly taken money from Baba Charan Singh on behalf of Mr Ajit Singh Sandhu.

Baba Charan Singh was staying in Pandori Ramana village with one of his younger brothers, Meja Singh, while their two other brothers, Kesar Singh and Gurdev Singh, were engaged in agriculture in Uttar Pradesh. According to CBI officials, senior police officials of Tarn Taran had hatched a conspiracy to extort money from Baba Charan Singh by implicating his brothers and brother-in-law in false cases, thus pressurizing him into paying huge bribes.

As per the CBI chargesheet, a police party led by Mr Baldev Singh of Sadar Police Station, Amritsar abducted Kesar Singh in June, 1992, from Amritsar Railway Station, while he was leaving for Uttar Pradesh along with his wife and son. Later, the police showed his arrest by SI Harbans Singh, Incharge of Police Post Kamboh in the Sadar division in Amritsar after a month of his abduction, i.e. on July 28, 1992.

The police, in its report had said that that a naka was laid near Dhol Kalan village in Amritsar and an unlicenced point 12 bore double-barrel gun and two live cartridges were recovered from him. He was sent to Amritsar Central Jail on July 30, 1992. Kesar Singh was taken from Central Jail, Amritsar, in April 1993 on the basis of production warrant by SI Bikramjit Singh of Police Station Chabbal after a police remand for three days was obtained. The CBI say the police had falsely pleaded that Kesar Singh was wanted for affecting recovery of incriminating evidence.

CBI officials say later SI Sukhdev Singh prepared false documents, showing that Kesar Singh had escaped from police custody, when a terrorist party attacked them. Similarly, his other two brothers, Gurdev Singh and Meja Singh, were abducted as were Baba Charan Singh’s brother-in-law, Gurmej Singh, and his son, Balwinder Singh, and cases were registered against them.

CBI sources say Baba Charan Singh paid Rs 8.5 lakh to Mahant Sewa Dass at Punjab Bhavan in New Delhi, as he was a close friend of Mr Sandhu. Later Mahant Sewa Dass was also arrested and was also made to pay some amount deposited in a bank in Baroda, that was deposited for the purpose of construction of a gurdwara in Kutch.


Cops seek CM’s aid for amnesty from Centre
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 16
The members of the Zinda Shaheed Police Officers Welfare Association, who had been booked by the CBI for the alleged excesses committed during the decade-long terrorism in Punjab, would meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on August 20 to impress upon the latter to recommend their case to the Central Government for granting general amnesty.

Mr Dilbagh Singh, SP, a member of the association, said the meeting with the Principal Secretary (Home) on Monday was held in a cordial manner and the latter had assured them that their case would be considered sympathetically.

The SP further said they would present their demands with appropriate facts before Mr Badal at the meeting scheduled to be held in Chandigarh.


Sub-tehsil created in Mansa district
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 16
The Punjab Government has created a sub-tehsil at Bhikhi town of Mansa district. This was announced today by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, while presiding over a sangat darshan programme at the local new grain market.

He issued directions to the Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, Ms Raji P. Shrivastava, to send the Naib Tehsildar, Mansa, to start work in connection with the sub-tehsil and arrange for stamp vendors.

He said distribution of residential plots had started yesterday at Ferozepore. Mr Badal said plots would be distributed among weaker sections of society out of panchayat land or government land. In case it was not available, the government would purchase land for this purpose, he said.

Lashing out at the Congress, the Chief Minister said the party had failed to provide basic necessities — Housing, bread, and clothing — to the people. He said Dalits having domestic power connection upto 1 kw would be provided 100 units of electricity per month free of cost.

He said the payment of outstanding salary for 54 months of sugar mill workers at Budhlada would be made from tomorrow. Mr Badal, who was accompanied by Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, general secretary, SAD, and member, Rajya Sabha, gave grants amounting to over Rs 2 crore for development works in the subdivision to the local municipal council, village panchayats and other organisations. An amount of Rs 30 lakh was given to the Municipal Council, Mansa.

Mr Badal said Assembly elections in the state would be held as per schedule. He said his party had always advocated that the prices of agricultural produce should be linked with the price index and farmers be given equipment and other inputs at subsidised rates. On the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, Mr Badal said the response of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had been very encouraging when he had met him recently along with Chief Ministers of other paddy-producing states.

He said his party would give a crushing defeat to the Congress in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections and enter into an alliance with those parties which opposed the Congress. Mr Badal said there was no possibility of a compromise with the Panthic Morcha. The only aim of the morcha was to defeat SAD and it would not be allowed to succeed in its designs by the people, he said.

Mr Badal said his government had brought a Rs 16,000 crore refinery in Bathinda district. Both Bathinda and Mansa districts would be benefited when the refinery became commercially operational, he said.

Among those who were present during the sangat darshan programme which started at 7 a.m. today were Mr Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh, MLA, Mansa, Mr Jaswant Singh Phaphre Bhaike, former Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Chattin Singh Samaon, former MP, Dr Lakhwinder Singh Mussa, district president, Youth Akali Dal, and SGPC members of the district.


Cheque presented by CM dishonoured
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 16
A cheque for Rs 4 lakh presented by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to Mrs Mukhwinder Kaur of Maira village on June 14 at a ‘sangat darshan’ programme at Sujanpur Assembly constituency has been dishonoured.

According to sources, Mr Badal had presented the cheque duty signed by the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, dated July 3, 2001, drawn on the Dhar Kalan branch of the State Bank of India in favour of Maira gram panchayat.

When the cheque was deposited to the bank by the sarpanch of the village, Mrs Mukhwinder Kaur, through the Central Bank of India, Sujanpur, the same was dishonoured on account of ‘not arranged for’ vide memo dated July 27, 2001

According to legal experts, bouncing of cheque is a punishable offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and only the issuing authority can be prosecuted. But, in this case the cheque was not issued with an intention to discharge any legal liability. It was in the shape of a grant for the development of the panchayat.

Meanwhile, the District Congress Committee President Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, alleged that the SAD-BJP government was forcing the Congress-ruled panchayats to return the cheques distributed by Mr Badal.


PSEB resents decision on release of dam water
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 16
Filling the Ranjit Sagar Dam once posed problems for the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). Now, excess water seems to be its bane, as the Irrigation Department, which controls the project, has decided that it would release excess water if the level of the dam goes beyond 520 metres.

The board has contested the decision of the dam management, which today conveyed that it would open the sluice gates in case the water-level went above 520 metres. The PSEB claimed that it would suffer a loss in revenue of Rs 37 crore if the dam management stuck to its decision.

The board authorities are now likely to take up the matter at a higher level as they feel the project is not been put to optimum use. According to the PSEB, the dam is designed for a full reservoir water-level of 527.91 metres.

It said if the dam authorities followed the example of the Bhakra and Pong Dam managements, it was possible to go beyond 520 metres. The level of the dam has been rising since the past few days. It was recorded at 616.56 metres on August 14 and 517.01 on August 15. Today, it was recorded at 517.27 metres.

The board authorities said the Bhakra Dam had a full reservoir level of 1690 metres and the Pong dam a level of 1400 metres. Sources said authorities of the two dams went in for maintaining a margin of around three metres in case of floods and heavy downpour in the catchment area. The sources said the Ranjit Sagar dam authorities were, however, going in for maintaining a buffer of 7.9 metres.

The sources said it was not understandable or acceptable to maintain such a big margin. They said that between 520 and 527 metres there was a power generation capacity of 159 million units which got converted into power worth Rs 37 crore.

The authorities said this capacity should be utilised, as around Rs 3,800 crore had been spent on the project and it was entering the crucial payback stage now. They said the decision was more puzzling as they had been asking the dam authorities to disclose the level till which they wanted to fill the dam since weeks.

Meanwhile, the Ranjit Sagar dam authorities are still to launch the floating derrick crane which is stationed at the dam. According to sources, the crane will only become afloat once the water-level reaches 518 metres. The crane is to be used to conduct repair works on the intake side of the dam. If the present trend of increasing water-level continues, the crane may be afloat soon, they added.

Meanwhile, the board has come up with a strategy to tackle the increasing water-level. It has decided to maximise power generation to the extent possible once the water-level touches 518 metres. This will be done to rein in the water-level and ensure that it does not cross the 520-metre mark.

It has written to the dam authorities to reconsider the decision, for which the latter has already written letters to Deputy Commissioners of adjoining districts.


Lashkar militant arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 16
The district police achieved a major success when it arrested a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant here late last evening and foiled attempts by him to strike at vital Army installations of the region.

The mercenary, identified as Abdul Rasid, alias Abu Sama, alias Bashir Ahmed Khan, a resident of Chak 170/9L under Cheeha Vatni tehsil in Sahiwal district, Pakistan, was arrested by a team of the special task force (STF) led by Mr Dinesh Sharma, Sub-Inspector, near the local railway station.

Involved in two encounters with the Army in Jammu and Kashmir, the 23-year-old terrorist was trained by Prof Asif Sayyad, chief, and Abdul Majid, deputy chief of the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Sahiwal district. He sneaked into India through Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir on September 28, 1999.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, talking to mediapersons here today, said the LeT leaders in Pakistan gave Abdul Rasid and two others, namely Abu Anees and Abu Zar, who also sneaked into Jammu and Kashmir territory along with him, an assault rifle each, five magazines each, 150 rounds of cartridges, two hand grenades, RDX explosive, Indian Army uniforms, fake currency and magazine pouches.

He said the Jammu and Kashmir police was being contacted to seize the arms and ammunition which had been hidden by Abdul Rasid in that state. He said two of his accomplices — Abu Anees, who was the chief of the LeT in the Kashmir valley, and Abu Zar — had been killed in an encounter with the Army. The three mercenaries were also involved in the smuggling of narcotics and fake currency, he said.

Dr Jain said Abdul Rasid was arrested by the STF on a tip-off. He said Abdul was also trying to go back to Pakistan after bribing security personnel. The mercenary possessed an identity card having a fake name, claiming to be a resident of Jammu and Kashmir.

Abdul Rasid was frequenting Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan and Ferozepore district of Punjab. In the recent past, he had also started frequenting Bathinda to make his contacts with local residents. Dr Jain said he used to win over people by saying that he was an orphan and his parents had been killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. During his visits to these cities, Abdul Rasid stayed in Dharamshalas and mosques.

A matriculate Abdul Rasid claimed that he was misled by LeT leaders. He got training in the use of firearms and explosives in Muzaffarabad for 21 days. For advance training, he attended a special camp in the same city for two months and then was shifted to another camp based in Afghanistan.

The main aim of the mercenary was to establish bases in various parts of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan. He was trained by training commander, Yaki-ur-Rehman. Abdul Rasid, who was presented before mediapersons, repented his activities. He said the LeT was misleading youths and pushing them into Jammu and Kashmir after training them to create disturbance there.

Dr Jain said cash awards and appreciation certificates would be given to all members of the STF. He said a case in this connection had been registered under Section 14 of the Foreign Act, Sections 3/34/20 of the Indian Passport Act, Sections 3/4 of the Explosives Act, Section 25 of the Arms Act, Section 61 of the NDPS Act at the city police station. He said Abdul was being questioned and vital information was expected from him.


4 get life term for gang rape, murder
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 16
In a significant judgement, a local court today sentenced four persons to rigorous imprisonment for life on the charge of murdering, abducting and raping a minor of Mehal Kalan village. The three other accused involved in the case were, however, acquitted by the court of the Additional Session Judge, Mr Sham Sunder, on the grounds of the benefit of the doubt.

Those sentenced are Jagraj Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Partap Singh and Des Raj. The court also observed that it could be said to be one of the rarest of the rare cases in which the extreme penalty of death should be awarded to the convicts. The three accused acquitted in the case are Harkamal Singh, Jagpal Singh both of Mehal Kalan village, and Rajwinder Singh of Kurarh village .

According to the prosecution case, a plus two student of Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College, Mehal Kalan, was abducted while she was on her way to her college in the morning of July 29,1997. When the parents of the girl launched a search in the evening when she failed to return from her college, her undergarments and books were found in the fields of one of the accused. The parents of the girl reported the matter to the police which recovered the handle of her cycle and her other articles from the fields. It was found the girl was gang-raped after being abducted. The accused after committing the heinous crime, strangled her to death and buried her body in the fields.

The accused during investigations confessed their crime and the body was exhumed following their confession. PTI 


Ganna, the ‘village of thieves’
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ganna (Phillaur), August 16
With a number of government-sponsored reformation and re-habilitation schemes proving to be a failure, this village, 8 km from Phillaur, has again earned the notorious distinction of being the one and only ‘village of thieves’ in the state police records.

Villagers, mostly belonging to the Sansi tribe are infamous in police records for indulging in thefts, snatching, drug-trafficking and illegal distillation of liquor. Another unique fact is that more than the men, the village is known for such criminal activities by the women folk, who are termed as ‘incorrigible’ by the police.

No sooner is some kind of crime involving some trick carried out by women reported somewhere in North India that the police comes straight to the village, where a special police post helps them identify and locate the accused. More often than not, the police find its catch.

The village has been re-labelled the title ‘village of thieves’ by the police after a number of schemes, especially Koshish, started by the government and the Police Department in 1993-94 failed to sustain the results. Some villagers stopped their activities for a few years then, but for the past three years or so, they are back to the profession, which they are allegedly best at.

According to a report prepared recently by the police, under the most important scheme called Koshish inaugurated by the then DGP, Punjab, K.P.S. Gill, some villagers were given loans for self-employment and others were given machines or cattle in 1993-94. However, much to the dismay of the police, the recipients have even sold the cattle and machines and not returned any loan to the government.

The report, a copy of which is with The Tribune, states that 53 persons were given loan from UCO Bank, Partappura, but no one has returned it. Sixteen persons were given loan for the purchase of cattle but only three returned the loan. The others have reportedly sold the cattle. Seven persons were given loans for opening for shops. Neither were the shops opened nor the loan was returned.

Sixteen persons were given cycle-rickshaws. They have also sold them. Sewing machines were distributed to 25 women for self-employment. None of them have used it. Some machines were said to have developed faults while the others were allegedly sold. Two tri-cycles and one bi-cycle were also given but they too have been reportedly sold.

Interestingly, much to the chagrin of the police, the villagers, during a special free-medical camp organised last year by Guru Nanak Mission Hospital, demanded more loans. More than 100 villagers applied for loans to buy rickshaws, sewing machines and for other self-employment vocations.

The police revealed that most of the villagers do not possess any land. As there was no other means of earning livelihood, they had been taking to crime since ages. Apart from the poverty factor, the men folk in the village are mostly drug addicts, who seldom do any work and just while away their time in the village. Some who work only indulge in crime and are mostly in jail. As a result, onus of running the homes falls on the women said they had to run the house. Most of them are illiterate and thus follow, also take to crime.

“We have no other option, but to continue with this job” claimed one of the accused women to this correspondent during a visit to the village. Initially, she did not admit to crime but when she was told she could get another loan, she revealed her true self.

“I was not born in this village, but was married here” she narrates her story. “Most of the women used to go out to the other cities and bring cash, clothes and other valuables. My mother-in-law was also one of them and she implored me to follow her in order to run the house in a ‘proper’ manner”. The woman said she just followed suit and has been in the business for the past several years.

Incidentally, while The Tribune team was interviewing the accused women, two police teams, one from Ludhiana and another from Yamunanagar, arrived. They were on the lookout for a group of women who had snatched gold chains from a number of women while travelling in auto- rickshaws in Haryana and Ludhiana. The other team had come to identify some women who had allegedly tricked a Ludhiana shopkeeper and stolen lengths of cloth from his shop.

The policemen soon learnt they had come at the right place.


Breaches in Ghaggar inundate 2,000 acres
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 16
Following heavy flow of water in the Ghaggar, two breaches, nearly 60-foot each, occurred today in the river at Makror and Mandvi villages in Khanauri area. It led to the spread of water in standing crops in about 2000 acres in the nearby villages of Makror, Mandvi and Chandu. The Ghaggar water has also entered the fields of Moonak village.

However, the water has not entered any populated area.

The water in the ghaggar was touching the gauge at the 753-foot mark above the danger mark, at about 6 pm today at Rd-460 in Khanauri. It is expected that the water level will increase till midnight and after that, it will start receding.

The Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said a heavy flow of water in the Ghaggar in the Khanauri and Moonak areas was expected and the administration had initiated steps to tackle the situation.

An alert in all 26 flood-prone villages of the Moonak subdivision had been issued two days ago.

Five teams comprising a Naib Tehsildar, a doctor, a veterinary doctor and government officials had been formed and equipped with an ambulance to meet any crisis.

He said more than 300 ration packets had been prepared for distribution to the affected people. The administration had also provided empty gunny bags to plug the breaches.


Sikh Gurdwara panel meeting today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 16
Justice Harbans Singh (retd), Chairman Sikh Gurdwara Commission has convened an emergency all-party meeting at Chandigarh tomorrow.

Apart from Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, secretary and Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, general secretary, SGPC representatives of the SAD, the SAD (Amritsar), the SHSAD and other Akali factions would attend the meeting.

The meeting would discuss at length of holding of general elections to the SGPC, according to Dr Bachan.

However, the deletion of word “Sehjdhari” from the Sikh Gurdwara Act would dominate the proceedings as the SGPC had passed a resolution in this regard.

Leaders of the newly floated Panthic Front have announced to support the SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh, Talwandi on the issue.


Cong to contest on all seats in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Moga, August 16
The Congress has decided to contest on all seats during the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state. This was stated here yesterday by a former Minister of State for Health and general secretary of the PPCC, Mrs Malti Thapar, and president of farmers’ wing of the PPCC, Mr Satnam Singh Sandeshi, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Both the leaders condemned the Badal government which they alleged had miserably failed to meet the requirements of the people and farmers in the state.

They further asked the Union Government to seek an account of the expenditure that Mr Badal had incurred on Anandpur Sahib.


Cong meeting on August 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has called a meeting of party office-bearers, members of the PPCC, members of the AICC from the state, MLAs, MPs, heads of front organisations and former presidents of the district units of the party on August 21 at Punjab Congress Bhavan here. Mr Moti Lal Vora, treasurer of the AICC and in charge of party affairs in Punjab, will also attend the meeting.


CM biased against Oppn MPs: CPI
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 16
Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, CPI MP, has alleged that the state government was ignoring the representatives of the public and no meeting of the MPs had been organised with the ministers of the state government.

Mr Bhaura, in a press note issued here today, alleged the Chief Minister was so biased against the MPs of the opposition parties that even the sarpanches of the Akali Dal had been asked by their leaders not to accept grants from them.

Mr Bhaura alleged that when he announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for Sema Kalan village, the sarpanch of the village returned the grant. The panches return the grant fearing victimisation by the ministers, he alleged.


Functions mark I-Day celebrations
Our Correspondents

Patiala, August 16
The 54th Independence Day was celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm by different sections of bodies amidst cultural programmes and singing of National Anthem here yesterday.

Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University, unfurled the flag on the university campus. On the occasion, Dr Ahluwalia gave a clarion call to the students for aiming and achieving high goals in life. A PT show was presented by the students of Punjabi University Model School while students of Music Department played National Anthem.

For the tiny tots of Blossoms School also, the day was filled with fun and frolic. The programme started with group dances and bhangra items and recitation of patriotic poems to revive the feeling of brotherhood and honesty among all. The Preparatory Wing sang the patriotic song ‘Bharat Pyara Desh Hamara’ attired in white kurta pyjamas with tricolour bandanas. National Anthem was sung by the school Principal, Ms Ravi Singh, along with Ms Sant Chahal and Mr Dazy Grewal.

The Senior Secondary School (Boys) at Sanaur celebrated Independence Day on the school campus while the Parent Teachers Association President, Mr Sadhu Singh, unfurled the flag.

The Baba Farid Islamia Public School, Bank Colony, also celebrated the day by distributing prizes to those students who stood first, second and third not only in the school but also SUPW.

The Lions Club, Patiala Fort, celebrated the day at Kaliana village and also held a diabetes check-up camp and diabetes control seminar that guided the patients to control their sugar levels. The Lions Club, Patiala Central, celebrated the occasion at Smt Shakuntla Devi Lions Free Swing School, Basti Daru Kuta in Sular village.

The local Rotary Club president, Mr H. S. Arora, hoisted the flag on the premises of Dr Khushdeva Singh Leprosy Centre near Tafazalpur locality. The club gave a cheque of Rs 1,000 to the in charge of the ashram.

The Lions Club, Patiala Quila Mubarak, celebrated the day at Birji Dasondhi Ram Pingalwara Ashram on the Rajpura road. Sweets were distributed among the inmates of the ashram. A free diabetic detection camp was also organised at Kuber Hospital.

Mr A. K. Purwar, Managing Director of the State Bank of Patiala, hoisted the National Flag at the Head Office and distributed artificial limbs and callipers to 18 physically challenged persons. Furniture was also provided in the dining hall for use by the inmates of Deaf and Dumb School by Ms Sushma Purwar, wife of Mr Purwar.


2 children of Army Subedars missing
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 16
Twelve-year-old Gurshranjit Singh, also knows as Lucky, is missing since yesterday from his 7/1 Gulat Road cantonment residence. The boy, son of Mr Gurdeep Singh, a Subedar in the Army belonging to the 95 field regiment, had gone yesterday morning to the house of his maternal uncle, Mr Joginder Singh, at Sharifpura. The boy never reached there and is missing since then, according to a report lodged at the Civil Lines police station by his father.

Incidentally, Priyanka Srivastava (14) is missing since November last year. She is the daughter of another Army Subedar Mr D.K. Srivastava, of the 515 ASC Bn. Mr Srivastava’s house is opposite to that of Mr Gurdeep Singh.

Mr Srivastava said he was transferred here from Assam while Mr Gurdeep Singh was transferred recently from Jammu. The children were studying in the central school here.

Mr Srivastava said the respective commanding officers of the units had been apprised of the missing children.


Water treatment plants for three districts
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 16
The government has conducted a survey in the state to identify the places where drinking water has become polluted for the installation of water treatment plants in collaboration with foreign companies, said Mr Raja Narinder Singh, Minister for Public Health, talking to this correspondent here today.

He said foreign companies had approached the government to install the plants and had declared that the amount which would be borne by them by taking loan from the World Bank and the government would pay the amount in instalments.

He said besides this, the government had also initiated the independent water supply scheme by taking loan from Nabard. He said in the first stage, the scheme would be introduced in the three border districts and the Kandy area at the cost of Rs 143 crore. He said under the scheme pure drinking water would be supplied to every village.

He said other schemes of the Centre and the state government like minimum need programme and accelerated rural programme schemes were being launched, particularly in rural areas.


2 motorcyclists killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 16
Two Amritsar-based pilgrims were killed when their motor-cycle was hit by a truck near the Kishangarh Chowk, about 12 km from here today.

According to the police, Arwinder Kumar (24), the son, died on the spot and his father , Ashok Kumar (55), succumbed to injuries on the way to the local Civil Hospital.

Both residents of Sarhali Kalan village in Amritsar were returning after paying obeisance at Chintapurni Mandir in Himachal Pradesh.

The truck driver fled away leaving the vehicle behind.


President’s Police Medal for SP
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 16
Mr Pawan Uppal, Superintendent of Police (City) was selected for the 2001 President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service.

Mr Uppal, who had joined the Punjab police as Inspector in 1983 at Patiala, said he was fortunate to have been bestowed with the highest award. 


CBI probe sought into missing girl’s case
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 16
An inquiry into the case of missing daughter of an employee of the judicial courts here has been handed over to the SP (Detective), Khanna. Parents of the girl had reportedly met the DIG, Ludhiana Range, and expressed dissatisfaction over the investigation in to the case being carried out by the local police following which the inquiry of the case was entrusted with the said officer.

Meanwhile, members of the local district Bar association struck work today demanding a CBI inquiry into the case.


Govt plan on paddy procurement
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 16
The Punjab Government has formulated a plan to ensure smooth procurement of paddy in the forthcoming kharif season in the state. Under the scheme, adequate employees of all state government agencies, besides the Food Corporation of India (FCI), will be deployed a week before the commencements of the purchase. Sufficient gunny bags will be provided and alternative arrangements for the lifting of the produce will be made to avoid any delay and loss.

Within 24 hours of the purchase, 75 per cent of the payment will be made and the remaining after its lifting. Additional storage facilities will also be arranged in grain markets and the purchasing centres. This was stated by Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister for Food and Supplies and Parliamentary Affairs, while talking to this correspondent here. He said a report had also been sought from all District and Food Supply Controllers by August 22 to sort out any other problem likely to be faced by the agencies during the purchase of the crop. The minister said the FCI had assured to make arrangements for the storage of 42 lakh tonnes of rice after the milling of paddy.


Panchayat bungled funds: probe report
Our Correspondent

Moga, August 16
An inquiry report regarding the misappropriation of several lakhs of rupees by the panchayat of Bhekha village in this district, which was completed yesterday, has revealed that lakhs of rupees provided as funds by the government and certain NRIs for the village’s development had been misappropriated.

According to reports, the society had bungled Rs 2 lakh, including Rs 60,000 given by the NRIs for development of cremation ground, and Rs 50,000 allotted to the panchayat for various development works during the past few years.

The society had also misappropriated Rs 15,000 which it had received from the sale of kikkar trees, the report said.


SDM raids liquor vends
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 16
Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Kharar, raided some liquor vends yesterday evening after receiving information that liquor was being sold openly at some liquor vends in spite of ban orders imposed by the Punjab Government in connection with the Independence Day. He sealed four vends and rounded up five persons who were selling liquor.

Mr Devinder Singh while talking to mediapersons outside a liquor vend in Purani Sabzi Mandi, Kharar, said he raided these vends and found that liquor was openly sold here.

He said some employees even tried to run away from the vends after seeing their vehicles.

The SDM said legal action against the contractors and employees would be taken according to the law.


Swindlers’ gang busted, four held
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 16
The Faridkot police has arrested four members of a 36-member inter-state gang of swindlers involved in defrauding various nationalised and private banks in different parts of the country of crores of rupees during the past few years. The arrested have been identified as Surinder Pal Singh, alias Jawa, alias Bittu, alias Sukhwinder Pal Singh, and Harpreet Singh, alias Happy, both from Faridkot district, Subash Chander, alias Kala, from Gurdaspur district and Sher Singh of Zira district, Ferozepore.

The police has also seized 13 vehicles, including cars, tractors and scooters. A large number of original and fake bank drafts, fake detailed marks cards and degrees of Punjabi University, Patiala, and Panjab University, Chandigarh, three computer sets, a CD player, floppies of Gulzar Motors, Ludhiana, a private finance company, fake identity cards and stamps of district departments have also been seized from them.

Stating this at a press conference at his office today, the SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill, said the arrested had been working with other members of the gang for the past five years in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The gang members defrauded Punjab and Sind Bank, Bank of Punjab, the State Bank of Patiala, the State Bank of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Bhartiya State Bank and Punjab National Bank in towns like Ferozepore, Batala, Bathinda and Muktsar, besides Asansole in West Bengal of over Rs 2 crore. The SSP said Surinder Pal Singh was involved in 15 cases of fraud in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, Harpreet in two such cases in Nawanshahr, Subash Chander in bank fraud cases in Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal and Sher Singh had been involved in the stealing of vehicles.

Explaining the modus operandi of the gang members, Mr Gill said they got fake draft books along with specimen signatures of the heads of banks and prepared drafts of huge amounts through computers. In connivance with employees of the banks, they encashed the drafts. Sometimes, they stole original drafts and replaced them with fake drafts. Blank drafts were stolen from the Punjab National Bank branch at Ghaduan village in Ropar district.

They also got financed several vehicles by paying money in advance to private financiers and prepared fake registration numbers and sold the vehicles. The SSP said that on a tip-off, he sent police parties to Gurdaspur, Sri Ganganagar and Delhi to nab the gang members.

A case under Sections 379, 411, 259, 260, 263 A, 420, 467, 468, 471, 472, 474 and 170 of the IPC besides a Section of the Arms Act has been registered against them at the Sadiq police station.


Namdhari Samaj chief’s nephew arrested
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 16
Thakur Dalip Singh, nephew of Satguru Jagjit Singh, chief of the Namdhari Samaj, was arrested by the CIA Staff, Kharar, here today when he surrendered before the police in connection with a case registered against him at SAS Nagar police station under Sections 307, 120-B/34 of the IPC. He was charged of hatching conspiracy to kill Mr Avtar Singh of SAS Nagar, who is also a prominent figure in the Namdhari Samaj.

The accused was produced in the court of Ms Harinder Sidhu, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, and was remanded to police custody till August 17.According to information, Mr Avtar Singh had complained to the SSP, Ropar, earlier that he was a personal sewak of Satguru Jagjit Singh and as per his guru’s desire he was looking after the working of Namdhari Panth. He had written in his complaint that he came to know from the police that the Nathana police had arrested Sukh Dev Singh in connection with some murder case and the arrested had informed the police that he was offered around Rs 5 lakh about one and a half years ago to kill him (Avtar Singh).

The SSP, Ropar, ordered that a case should be registered under Sections 307, 120B and 34 of the IPC and the investigations in this case were handed over to Inspector Satnam Singh, in charge, CIA Staff, Kharar.

Mr Avtar Singh was fired upon in SAS Nagar a few months back but he escaped. The police had already recovered the pistol used at that time and arrested two other accused, Charanjit Singh and Jagdish Singh.


14-yr-old Dalit raped
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 16
A 14-year-old Dalit girl of Balamgarh village was allegedly raped by Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Inabajwa village in Sherpur.

According to information available Kulwinder Singh had raped the girl on August 4, 2001, at the residence of his relative in her village. The girl was working as a domestic helper in the house of Kulwinder's relative.

The father of the girl had lodged a complaint at Dhuri police station on August 14. The police had registered a case under Sections 376, 342 and 506 of the IPC.


In-laws not held despite registration of FIR
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 16
Gain Singh, a local resident, has alleged that despite registration of an FIR against the in-laws of his daughter, the police has failed to arrest them.

In the FIR lodged on July 3 with the police, Ranjit Kaur, daughter of Gain Singh, had alleged that her in-laws had been harassing her since her marriage in 1998 for bringing inadequate dowry.

In the FIR, she said her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and other members of the family would often beat her up. She has alleged that she was not often given any meals.

She further alleged that she was also harassed by her in-laws as she had not given birth to a male child. She said she had two daughters.

She alleged that she was thrown out of her in-laws house on April14. She alleged that her in-laws demanded Rs 50,000 from her father for bringing her back. She alleged that her husband, Dalveer Singh, wanted to get married again.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, on being contacted said there was no delay on the part of the police. He said the in-laws of Ranjit Kaur resided in village Nadala in Kapurthala district. He added that the district police was in constant contact with Kapurthala police. He said the culprits would be arrested soon.


Two held for cow slaughter
Our Correspondent

Sohia Kalan, Majitha (Amritsar), August 16
Six cows, including a calf, were slaughtered at Sohia Kalan village in Majitha police district early this morning at 3 a.m. On a tip off, the Majitha police rushed to the spot minutes later to rescue the animals, but they had already been killed, said DSP Paramdeep S. Teja.

An FIR was lodged here today against six persons out of whom two, Vicky and Chhinda Masih, were arrested while four, Pappu, Bita, Babbi and Major, absconded.

All were booked for killing the cows for commercial purposes to sell their hide for profit.


PTU in the soup again
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 16
Even as the authorities of Punjab Technical University (PTU) have been denying bunglings and harassment of students time and again numerous complaints by the students and the parents alike raise a finger of suspicion.

Most of the candidates who attended the counselling at the PTU alleged that the officials had “promised” that if there was any discrepancy in the fee being charged it would be removed at the time of admissions in the college by the respective authorities, but the college authorities refused to refund the fee that had been charged by them despite stating this in the prospectus.

Aarti Gupta, a candidate, in a complaint filed with the Director, Technical Education, Punjab, alleged that the authorities of the Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology had charged full fee from her while she was admitted to the electronics and communication engineering course of the college. After the second counselling she was allotted Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra, and as per the PTU rules the authorities of Shaheed Udham Singh College were to refund her fee after deducting 10 per cent of the tuition fee, but they refused to do so.

Though it was clearly mentioned in the prospectus of the PTU that fee would be refunded even if a candidate changes a university or a college, but some of the colleges were not following the instruction and the PTU authorities failed to take action against the erring colleges, the candidate alleged.

Interestingly, while the information brochure issued by Shaheed Udham Singh College said no cash would be accepted, the college authorities accepted Rs 45,000 and issued a cash receipt for the same.

Parents of some candidates maintained that the PTU authorities were filling their coffers by charging various kinds of fees. The university was charging Rs 2,500 as counselling fee, which was unreasonable, they alleged.

Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, father of a candidate, who was admitted to a college in Punjab, alleged that he was made to pay full fee on the spot by the college authorities and when his ward was admitted to another college after second counselling he was made to pay full fee again. “The college authorities will return my money at their own sweet will as the PTU authorities had expressed their helplessness,” he alleged.

Not only this the authorities had charged fee for the whole year whereas the examination system followed by most of them was semester wise, the candidates alleged.

Dr D.S. Kumar, Principal, Shaheed Udham Singh College could not be contacted as he was away on a personal visit to Delhi.


Dental college gets permission to admit students
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 16
The Central Government has approved the renewal of permission to four year BDS course for admitting the fourth batch of students during academic session 2001-2002 with 60 admissions at Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute, Sunam.

Giving this information here yesterday, Mr Ashok Bansal, Chairman of the Bhagwan Dass Arora Charitable Trust, which runs the college, said this had been conveyed in a communique to the Principal of the college by Mr S.K. Rao, Director, Union ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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