Friday, October 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Kidney racket
Complainant may be the accused
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 25
There is a growing indication that Sagar Bahadur, a complainant in the infamous kidney racket, may actually become one of the key accused, as revealed by the statement of the two persons arrested from Patiala and their relatives’ claim that he had donated his kidney wilfuly and not forcibly.

Along with this there are reports that the police may not succeed further in the kidney racket after the arrest of only minor accused in the case. The two persons arrested from Patiala were the minor accused as they had only given false affidavits to help a relative. The police succeeded in arresting these common men while the main accused are still at large. This despite the fact that in police investigation a number of names in medical fraternity had come up. The police had also learnt about the involvement of some private doctors but no one was arrested, nor any effort was made to arrest them.

It is infact a strange ordeal for Ashok Rana and Darshan Kumar, two persons arrested from Patiala, and their relatives. According to them, they gave false affidavits in order to save the life of their relative Sham Sunder, who unfortunately could not live longer than two months after the transplantation. A relative of the arrested person, who was unable to control his tears, told this correspondent that they had done so on the directions of some staff in the DMC hospital and the main accused Amritpal Singh, who arranged everything.

“What is our fault’’ asks a sobbing Rajesh Rana, brother of Ashok Rana, one of the persons arrested from Patiala. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Rajesh Rana said they were at a loss to understand what was happening with them. His brother Ashok and a relative Darshan Kumar had given false affidavits about the donor Sagar Bahadur as they had no other choice.

‘“Several of our relatives were willing to donate their kidneys but none was found fit by the DMC,’’ he said. Then some persons from the hospital told them to contact Amritpal Singh. The DMC employees told them that he will arrange everything and this is what actually happened.

Mr Rajesh said every person concerned with the case knew that kidneys were available at a price.

The family of Sham Sunder lost everything. They spent over Rs 6 lakh on his operation and testing of relatives. Some of them had to sell some property and vehicles to pay the expenses. However, Sham Sunder could not survive for long. The family members and the relatives now find them involved in the kidney racket.



Police lapse leads to double jeopardy
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 25
Gurdev Singh of Himayunpura village had to remain under “illegal detention due to the fault of the police, for an offence for which he had already suffered imprisonment in the year 1986 in a case under Section 411 of the IPC.

Gurdev Singh, along with Sherughan Prashad, Surjit Singh and Kuldip Singh, was charged for committing a theft in an FIR No. 105 of 1985 at police station Sidhwan Bet. During the trial Surjit Singh and Kuldip Singh absconded and were declared proclaimed offenders.

Since Gurdev Singh had remained in jail during proceedings, as no surety could be furnished for his release.

Judicial Magistrate deciding the case sentenced him to six and half months on October 20, 1986. He remained in the jail for seven months and was released after having undergone the said imprisonment.

The police was in search of the proclaimed offenders, Surjit Singh Kuldip Singh, but arrested Gurdev Singh on September 23 this year. The police later produced Gurdev Singh on April 24, in the court of Mr Hari Singh Grewal, the hapless man narrated his story of having already undergone the sentence.

The court summoned the record from record room and the same was received on October 22 and for all that period Gurdev Singh had to remain in imprisonment.

He was released only when the counsel for Gurdev Singh moved an application for his release. The court then ordered for his release.

The incident raises a question against the conduct of police who made a poor man undergo imprisonment for no fault of his own.



Autorickshaw union’s claim false? 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 25
In an interesting case of issuing false statements in the name of higher officials, the Ludhiana Zila Autorickshaw Union issued a press note here today in which it claimed that its members have met the District Transport Officer (DTO) and the SP (Traffic) to request them that they should not be challaned for ‘running autorickshaws within city limit without any permit.’

Mr Om Parkash, president of the union, claimed that the SP (Traffic) and the DTO assured them that they ‘would not be unnecessarily harassed.’ However, no such meeting was held today.

Mr Om Parkash said the Transport Commissioner, Punjab, had issued a letter to the DTO and the SP (Traffic) that there was no need of any permit to run an autorickshaw within city limits. However, inquires made with the DTO and the SP (Traffic) offices revealed another story.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, DTO, was not present in the office today. He had gone to Chandigarh to attend a departmental meeting. One of the ADTOs has gone for checking and challaning the autorickshaws. The other ADTO was on leave.

Secondly, the office had not received any letter regarding the non-requirement of permits to run autorickshaws within the city limit. One of the officials disclosed that the autorickshaw drivers would have to get the permits to run their vehicles up to 16 km limits otherwise they would be challaned.

Similarly, officials of the SP (Traffic) office revealed that no delegation of autorickshaw unions had met the SP today and there was no question of slowing down the campaign against illegal plying of vehicles.

The office had not received any letter from the Transport Commissioner to challan the vehicles running within city limit without any permit.

However, Mr Om Parkash claimed that the autorickshaw drivers were forced to keep their vehicles off the road as they were not able to pay the heavy penalty imposed by the DTO and the SP (Traffic). He appealed to the state government to stop their harassment. A meeting of the autorickshaw unions was held here today.



New beat system in city
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 25
Well, next time you decide to approach a higher police officer with any specific complaint, you would be asked whether you have reported the matter to your beat officer or not.

A new beat system has been introduced by the SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, in order to make the city police more responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and also eliminate the role of touts and middlemen.

Addressing a meeting of members of the area’s peace committee at the division number four police station here this evening, Mr Dilpreet Singh Gill, SHO, outlined the new system to the participants.

At the very outset, he told the gathering that from now onwards, two or more mohallas and localities had been clubbed to form one beat, which would be looked after a beat officer. The beat officer, who would attend to every minor or major complaint of the area, would have all the powers of an SHO. These beat officers would be competent enough to register cases even under Section 302 of the IPC, he told the gathering.

Dwelling further on the new scheme, the SHO informed the gathering of citizens that advisory committees comprising 50 persons each from every beat would be formed soon. These advisory committees would have people from all walks of life, irrespective of their income and social status. Even a representative of a rickshaw union or a temple priest or a sweeper could be taken on these advisory committees. The purpose of forming these committees was to eliminate the role of touts and middlemen in most police cases and to generate instead a feeling of public participation in police functioning.

Moreover, a broad-based advisory committee would be in a better position to underline the problems being faced by the residents on account of a particular unsocial character or a ruffian in an area. The beat officers would discharge their duties in consultation with the advisory committees. Many petty quarrels in a locality which go unreported and which usually prove to be the cause of bigger flare-ups later would also be dealt with effectively under the new beat scheme. A large number of disputes are expected to be solved at the grassroot level once the system is put in practice, added the SHO.

The participants, by and large, welcomed the new scheme. The SHO introduced the new beat officers to the participants.



Discrepancies in voter I-cards
Tribune News Service

Voter identity cards of Mr Gurpreet Singh show different pictures and age 

Ludhiana, October 25
Even as the public has been given the last chance to get the voters’ identity card a number of discrepancies in making of the cards has come to light.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Mandiani village, near here, received two identity cards, both of which show different age. According to one card, he is 34 year old on 1.1. 1994 and according to another, he is aged 40 on 1.1. 1998.

He said he was astonished to receive the second card and both had different pictures. He said while former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan, had tried to bring transparency in the voting system by introducing voters’ cards, his efforts were being stalled by inefficient preparation of these cards.

He alleged that political parties were not interested in these cards as fair polling would pose problems to them.

He said in many cases the identification of the voter was a problem as the quality of picture was very poor.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said, while Haryana had started affixing coloured pictures, the Punjab Government was still going for black and white pictures taken by a video camera.

Another resident, Manpreet Singh, said he had got himself photographed four times for the card but had not yet received the card.



Shift us to PAU: PLDRC staff
Kanchan vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 25
Punjab Agricultural University, which is facing financial crunch, has got another problem staring in its face as employees of the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation (PLDRC), Laddowal, have written to the state government that they should be transferred to the university like other colleagues, who were the employees of the Central Seed Farm.

While the university has not received the copy of the letter, but has received an indication from the state government that the employees had written to the government to transfer them to the university.

Sources told Ludhiana Tribune that the university was in no way prepared to absorb these employees as it was already facing financial crisis and their salaries would mean an extra financial burden.

The university has recently absorbed 181 employees of the seed farm and was paying their salaries amounting to Rs 1.25 crore per month.

The employees of the seed farm were transferred to the university as it was given 1250 acres of the farm’s land after the 20-year-old lease of the farm to the Central Government expired and over 2,700 acres of the land was returned to the state government.

The state government had in turn distributed the land between the university, PLDRC and the Punjab Police, while retaining some of it with itself. As per agreement between the state and the Central Government, the liability of these workers rested with the state government, which had in turn passed it on to the PAU and the PLDRC, which got major chunks of the farmland.

So the employees of the seed farm, who were transferred to the PLDRC, are willing to be transferred to the university like other colleagues. The sources said although there was no direction by the state government for absorbing these employees as yet, the PAU was not willing to shoulder another responsibility.

The sources said the university was given just 1,250 out of the 2,700 acres of the land, how could the responsibility of all employees rest with the university alone when the land was divided into four parts.

It is learnt that the university is paying the salaries of the seed farm employees from the revolving fund as otherwise the Audit Department would have raised an objection.

The sources said the government had in principle agreed to pay Rs 2 crore for their salaries but had not released it till date.

This was due to this crisis that the PAU was not able to deposit the Provident Fund of the employees for the past six months. The meeting of the university authorities with the Principal Secretary (Finance), which was scheduled for yesterday in Chandigarh, was also postponed as the Principal Secretary was busy elsewhere.

The PAU authorities had arranged the meeting with him to ask the government to release funds.



Heroin worth Rs 15 cr seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 25
In a major action against narcotics smugglers, the Customs Department, Dhandhari dry port, here, has seized heroin worth Rs 15 crore from a Delhi bound car and arrested two persons in a raid at an undisclosed place, here today morning.

The connection of the arrested persons with Pakistan based terrorists and smuggling network is not being ruled out.

At least 15 packets of heroin, stuffed in the front doors of a white Maruti car, were seized by a team of the customs and DRI officials, at about 8.30 a.m., from an undisclosed place in the Focal Point. Sources said interrogation of the two arrested was on. It was hoped that more raids would be made after that.

A team of DRI officials from Amritsar and Delhi is learnt to have rushed to the dry port, Dhandari Kalan, to interrogate the suspects.

The seizure hints towards the high level of narcotic smuggling going on in the region. Sources said Ludhiana, known as a big market for opium and poppy husk was fast becoming a lucrative market for hard drugs like heroin, smack and brown sugar.

According to officials the narcotic had been brought from Pakistan for its onward distribution to western countries.

The suspects had reportedly picked up the supply at Sirsa in Haryana and were taking it to Delhi when they were nabbed.

According to Assistant Commissioner, Customs, one of the arrested Sukhdev Singh, is wanted in several cases by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.



Anthrax test reports negative
Tribune News Service.

Ludhiana. October 25
A number of city residents, who were scared of falling victim to Anthrax after receiving letters containing turned out to be white powder can heave a sigh of relief as none of the tests has so far positive.

The powder and the envelopes were tested by the Department of Microbiology, CMC, here. The report has been sent to the Civil Surgeon’s office. While officials in the Civil surgeon said they had not received any such report so far, reliable sources confirmed that the tests were negative.

In the past one week, at least 10 such cases were reported from the district, but none of the persons receiving the envelopes developed any problem.



IT raids on nursing homes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 25
Income Tax Department conducted raids on certain city nursing homes last night.

According to IT officials, the investigating teams raided the premises of some dental surgeons and other nursing homes in the Civil Lines Area.

The officials said enquiries were still going on and refused to disclose any details.

One of the doctors concerned, when contacted on phone, said: “No raid was conducted by the department.

It was a mere survey of the department.” Income Tax officials said the raids would continue as they had received specific information that certain nursing homes were involved in tax evasion.



Censor board for Punjabi songs sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 25
The Ludhiana Welfare Society has asked the Punjab Government to form a censor board so that vulgarity being displayed in Punjabi songs on the small screen could be curbed.

In a press note here today, Mr Manjit Singh Matharoo, president of the welfare body, said at a special meeting of the society held here, it was decided to oppose the show of vulgarity on Punjabi TV channels and songs.

The meeting observed that the vulger scenes being depicted in these songs sequences had no relation to the word compositions.

The meeting urged Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, to form a censor board for Punjabi TV channels and video cassettes with eminent personalities on it.

It was also decided to form a cultural wing of the society with the purpose of “serving the mother tongue”. Inderjit Hassanpuri a filmmaker and lyricist, Principal Bhupinder Harsh and Mr Balwant Singh Ballu would be nominated on the cultural panel. Mr Manjit Singh Matharoo was authorised to nominate other members on the panel. It was also decided to organise kavi darbars cultural festivals and children’s contests in the near future and honour the winners.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Sadhu Singh, Giani Surinder Singh, Mr Ashok Kumar, Principal Sat Pal Sharma, Mr Gurmit Manak, Mr Yadvinder Singh Matharoo, Mr Amanjit Harry, Mr Sharanjeet Singh and Mr C.M. Thakur.



Cong leader takes govt to task
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 25
The Punjab government as well as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee are guilty of criminal negligence in effectively dealing with the mischievous elements, responsible for acts of sacrilege against the holy Guru Granth Sahib at various places in Punjab.”

This was asserted by Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, senior Congress leader and member of Lok Sabha, while addressing a largely attended religious gathering at Rattan village near Jodhan in this district last evening.

The bhog of akhand path was performed by the Youth Services Club of the village as an act of atonement for the sacrilegious acts.

Baba Jaspal Singh Dhalian recited the kirtan of Gurbani on this occasion.

Taking the SAD-BJP government to task, Mr Ghalib charged it with inaction and deliberate delay in moving against the blasphemous Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, which led to several incidents of “Bir” burning and other acts of sacrilege, aimed at hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh masses.

He further observed that confrontation between the state government and the SGPC over the probe panel to look into acts of sacrilege had not only created confusion among the minds of the people but had cast a shadow of doubt over the real intention of the two institutions.

Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, president, District Congress Committee (Rural), speaking at the occasion, condemned the acts of sacrilege and called upon the people to observe restraint.

He asked the party activists to perform bhog of akhand path as “pashchatap” for the reprehensible acts of Bir burning.



Workshop on female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 25
A one-day workshop on female foeticide was organised by the Health Department at Government College for Women today.

Mrs Santosh Bhatia, District Mass Media Officer, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said members from 10 blocks of Moga, Kapurthala and Ludhiana were covered under the programme.

Mrs Jasbir Kaur Bawa, State Mass Media Officer, said those indulging in pre-natal sex determination and female foeticide should strictly be punished by the government. She said it was not only unfortunate, but alarming that the female sex ratio in the state had decreased in the recent years.

Mrs Bawa said that those found guilty could be sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine or both.

Dr J.S. Bhullar, Deputy Medical Commissioner, said: “To create awareness among the masses, a questionnaire is being given to the women attending the seminar. The questionnaire is based on psychological, financial, religious and social status of woman and her family. We can find out the reasons which force a woman to go for female foeticide”.



‘Both grieving parties must be present at sangat darshan’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 25
“Both the parties — the complainant and the respondent — must be called during the inquiry, which should be held by senior officers themselves.” This direction was issued by Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing the officers, attending the sangat darshan programme at Bachat Bhavan here today. He said these programmes were meant to provide speedy justice to the public and to redress their grievances on a priority basis. All the SDMs were also asked to address the public grievances by organising sangat darshan at their respective subdivisional levels.

Mrs Parminder Kaur of Jassowal village had complained that a false case had been registered against her husband in the police station and the police, as well as the other party, was harassing them. An inquiry conducted by the Superintendent of Police had revealed that the two parties had an altercation over payment due for the purchase of milk. The milk man had not only beaten up the husband of the complainnat but had also lodged a false complaint with the police. Dissatisfied with the report, the Deputy Commissioner marked a fresh inquiry to the SP (City II).

On a complaint by Buta Ram of Talwandi Kalan about the illegal possession of 11 kanals and 8 marlas of school land by a resident, Ram Chand, and his son, Mr Sandhu directed the SDM to visit the site along with the patwari and the District Education Officer and hold a detailed inquiry to find out the truth.

The Deputy Commissioner found no substance in the complaint of one Hari Singh of Karudian village that the PSEB had sent him an inflated bill and further that his power supply was disconnected. The Executive Engineer, PSEB explained that the complainant was allotted a 60 W power connection under the scheme for rural poor, but he was consuming electricity to the extent of 600 W in three rooms, and further that due to non payment of bill, the power supply was disconnected. Mr Sandhu asked the complainant to deposit one-third amount of the bill immediately and the balance could be paid in instalments. He directed the PSEB authorities to restore the connection and recover the amount of the bill in instalments.

Mr Sandhu directed the SDM and the Executive Officer to bring the relevant record to his office on Monday to sort out the complaint of Hans Singh of village Bhagur about the sewerage system in the village. Taking up a complaint by Mr Kartar Singh of Daad village regarding the mutation of the land inspite of the order of decree with him, the Deputy Commissioner called for detailed background of the case from the SDM before taking a final decision.

Another complainant, Mr Jaspal Singh, was asked to move the District Consumers Disputes Redressal Forum to claim damages from Civil Hospital for deficiency in service and negligence. Jaspal Singh had complained that the operation of his arm was not done properly in the Civil Hospital and an amount of Rs 25000 was charged from him, even though the operated arm was non-functional. The complainant had declined an offer by the Civil Surgeon that he could have another operation done at the Civil Hospital.

Mr Jagtar Singh of Bachind village brought into the notice that in a bank loan case, required entries were not made in the revenue record by the patwari, which had led to non-disbursement of the loan. The manager of the bank also vouched in favour of the complainant. The Deputy Commissioner ordered immediate action to make entries in the revenue record and asked the officials to conduct an inquiry against the patwari.



Mann backs stand of Talwandi on panel
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 25
One of the prominent constituents of the Panthic Morcha and the president of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today hailed the stand taken by Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the issue of a probe panel to look into incidents of sacrilege saying it was primarily the domain of the SGPC.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Mann further said the Morcha had 53 members in the general house of the SGPC and in case of a show- down between Mr Talwandi and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on the issue of parallel inquiry commissions, the Morcha would stand by Mr Talwandi. The confrontationist attitude of Mr Badal towards the SGPC chief, he observed, went on to show that no “taksali” Akali leader was left in Mr Badal’s camp and his party had been reduced to a family affair.

Mr Mann expressed his serious concern about aggressive postures of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf, which in other words spelt the threat of a war between the two countries and Punjab, a border state, becoming a battleground for nuclear warfare. “Our party strongly denounces the provocative gestures of both sides.” He further welcomed the remarks of the US Secretary of State, Mr Collin Powell that India and Pakistan should maintain friendly relations to ensure peace in the subcontinent.

He said 38 US Senators who had raised their voice in support of the minorities in general and the Sikh community in particular, deserved to be congratulated for their bold stand. On the other hand, Mr Gurmit Singh Aulakh, the so-called President of the Council of Khalistan, who collected $1.25 lakh from the Sikh community every year, was doing little for the community and should be taken to task.

Mr Mann expressed his strong reservations against the legislation, which would replace TADA and the recent amendments in the Passport Act, which had armed the government with powers to suspend a passport. He apprehended that these legislative measures would be blatantly misused for repression of the minorities and demanded that these be withdrawn immediately.


‘People are fed up with SAD govt’
Our Correspondent

Samrala, October 25
In the coming Assembly elections, the Panthic Morcha will form the government and provide the real ‘Khalsa Raj’ to the people of the state. Their will be no corruption in the government. These views were expressed by Mr Rupinder Singh Mundi, district president of the SHSAD, while talking to mediapersons after presiding over a meeting of District Youth workers, here today.

Mr Mundi said the Akali workers were fed up with the non-democratic activities of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and its family members. Mr Badal had taken all religious organisations and institutions under his control, including Akal Takht. Mr Mundi alleged that Mr Badal was directly responsible for sacrilegious acts. He said Mr Badal was running away from an independent inquiry fixed by the SGPC as the persons involved in these incidents were close to him.



Dharna against police excesses
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 25
More than 100 residents, including men and women staged a dharna in front of city police station today in protest against alleged excesses and irregular working of S.H.O, Phillaur.

A rally was also organised which was addressed by the circle Akali Dal, Phillaur president, Mr Balihar Singh, Phillaur urban president Jasbir Singh and CPM leader Dev, who threatened to black traffic on the GT Road, Phillaur, on October 28, if the SHO was not suspended by then.


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