Friday, November 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

N C R   S T O R I E S


 

Rs 1 cr burgled at MTNL exchange
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Unidentified persons broke into the protected Laxmi Nagar exchange office of the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) sometime last night and escaped with about Rs one crore, after cutting through the strong box made of steel with an acetylene torch.

The money was part of Rs 1,90,97,000 withdrawn yesterday for the disbursement of staff salaries. The salaries were supposed to be disbursed today before the beginning of the long weekend.

Hundreds of agitated employees, who had come to the exchange to collect their salaries, found it hard to believe that their hard-earned income had been burgled as there were normally four guards on duty and the exchange itself is a hub of activity even during the night.

The theft was discovered around 8 in the morning by the MTNL chowkidar, but for some inexplicable reason the police were called only around 11 am. Some officials at the exchange said that the senior officers were first informed of the theft, so that they themselves could examine the site.

The police said that a case had been registered and efforts were being made to trace the suspects. A crime team was rushed to the exchange. The sleuths dusted the room and the strong box for fingerprints. The chowkidars, one on the MTNL staff and three from a private security firm, were being questioned.

The police said that they were also trying to ascertain the identity of an electrician who had come to the exchange late last night, but curiously no one among the staff knew anything about him. A gas cylinder, a blanket and a steel saw had also been recovered from the room and they were being examined by the experts of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), according to the police.

Senior police and MTNL officials rushed to the exchange in the congested east Delhi locality as soon as they came to know of the theft. Curious onlookers and subscribers were shocked by the incident.

The police believe that the suspects had planned the theft meticulously as they came equipped with a gas cylinder, a torch and other implements to cut through the steel and the lock of the strong box. The connivance of some employees is not being ruled out.

According to the police, the cashier, D.C. Kardam, working with the MTNL since June 2000, had locked the strong box and left yesterday as usual. He had checked the locks twice as was the routine. The cashier said that a large number of employees knew that the cash was kept in the strong box.
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New Cabinet next week
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The reconstituted Cabinet of the Government of NCT of Delhi is likely to take shape by Monday when the Congress Government would complete three years in power.

A day after her Cabinet colleagues tendered their resignations, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters on Thursday that the new Council of Ministers would be in place by mid-week.

Ms Dikshit said that none of the ministers’ resignations had yet been accepted or forwarded to Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor.

“The ministers continue to discharge their duties, pending a decision,” she said matter-of-factly during the course of an informal chat with mediapersons. She said that discussions were on with the party high command on the composition of the team and that Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s advice would be sought over the weekend.

Ms Dikshit said that discussions could not be held during the day as Ms Gandhi was preoccupied with her parliamentary duties.

Even as the composition of the reconstituted Cabinet is a subject of intense speculation, at least one minister vacated his office at the New Secretariat.

Sources say that the minister showed up briefly on Thursday morning and removed most of his belongings and also the mementos before calling it a day.

Meanwhile, hectic lobbying is on for securing ministerial berths in the revamped Cabinet with many of the legislators leading their respective delegations to meet the All India Congress Committee office-bearers. Notwithstanding the delicate balance the Chief Minister would have to strike while effecting a reshuffle, the delay in reconstituting the Cabinet is also being attributed to the prickly issue of rehabilitating the ministers likely to be dropped.

Party sources say that the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) list and the nominees to various posts in the Boards / Corporations have been put on hold till the composition of the Sheila Dikshit Ministry. The Chief Minister said that discussions were on with DPCC chief Subhash Chopra also and that the list “may be” released to coincide with new Council of Ministers taking charge
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Religious fervour marks Gurpurab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The 533rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, was observed in the National Capital Territory with traditional religious fervor and gaiety.

Sikh youths exhibit their skills with the sword and the shield on the eve of Gurpurab in the Capital.
Sikh youths exhibit their skills with the sword and the shield on the eve of Gurpurab in the Capital.
— Tribune Photo Mukesh Aggarwal

A colourful procession was taken out from the historic Sis Ganj Gurdwara to Nanak Piao Gurdwara with children dressed in traditional attire and youth exhibiting their skills in handling the sword and the ‘gatka,’ in the martial tradition.

Hundreds of students from about 70 schools run by the DSGMC took part in the festivities in their choicest clothes. Thousands of persons accompanied the bedecked elephants and horses, which passed through the bylanes of the Capital with people thronging to have a glimpse of the procession.

The `Panj Piyaras’ led the procession and the members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee followed them. The ragas of gurbani and the cry of `Bole So Nihal’ rent the air even now and then.

The members of the community had set up a community kitchen on the procession route and food and sherbet was served to passersby.
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IN PARLIAMENT
Commuter facilities for NCR
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The National Capital Region Planning Board, under the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation has made a plan to develop commuter travel facilities within Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the Minister of State of Railways and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr O Rajagopal informed the Lok Sabha today.

In a written reply, the Minister said that the Ministry of Railways has agreed in principle to share one-third of the cost of scheme. In the first phase, three corridors have been identified for implementation. These are : Shahdara-Sahibabad-Ghaziabad, Minto Road-Tilak Bridge- Sahibabad and Dayabasti (Patel Nagar)– Bijwasan-Gurgaon stretches.

The Minister further said the noring railway connects Agra-Nizamuding Intercity Express towards New Delhi. But GDP-I-Palwal-Ghaziabad EMU connects the Intercity Express at Nizamuddin for going towards New Delhi. Regarding steps taken by the government streamline punctuality and functioning in running of trains and to provide more trains on Agra-Mathura-New Delhi route, the Minister said that punctuality of trains on this route is monitored at the Divisional, Zonal and Railway Board level round the clock.

Owing to over saturated line capacity utilisation on the Agra-Delhi route and terminal constraints in the New Delhi area for maintenance of trains, introduction of new trains get restricted. However, this is a continuous process subject to operational feasibility, resource availability and traffic justifications, the Minister said.

As on October 10, 2001, 301 LPG distributorships of public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) are operating with a customer strength of about 33 lakhs in Delhi, the Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Santosh Gangwar informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today.

The Minister said the LPG distributors are under instructions from the OMCs to do mandatory inspection of LPG equipments at the customer’s premises once in two years for purpose of safety, he said.

For this purpose, they are authorised to collect Rs 25 as inspection charges. OMCs have not reported any complaint of overcharging on this aspect from customers. NO punitive actions like stoppage of refill supplies is taken against the customers who refuse such checks, the Minister said.

The Government has received 106 complaints in Delhi with regard to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) while seven complaints have been received with respect to Mumbai, the Minister of State for Communications, Tapan Sikdar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.
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Ghaziabad doctor shot in clinic
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, November 29
A well-known doctor, Dr Varinder Kapur, was shot dead at his clinic today in Chaudhari Bhavan, one of the busiest places in the city. He was killed at 9 am, 15 minutes after he had opened the clinic. Dr Kapur, hit in the head and chest, was rushed to the Yashoda Hospital where he died a little later.

Two persons, with their faces hidden, pumped three bullets into Dr Kapur from a close range before fleeing on a motorbike, kept in a running condition by their third accomplice. According to Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Raghav, Dr Kapur had opened his clinic at about 8.45 am and his friend Dr M B Sharma, a homeopath, had joined him a little earlier. A big crowd gathered at his residence in 17-B Nehru Nagar as well as at the Yodhoda Hospital. The daylight murder in a posh colony has sent shockwaves in the city. The Kavi Nagar Police, under whose jurisdiction the murder has taken place, were the first to reach the site of crime, followed by SSP Prashant Kumar, SP Ashok Raghav and other officials. Mr Baldev Raj Sharma, a well-known leader of the BSP, said that there was a law and order in the district and the criminals could target anyone.
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Seven-yr-old? Go, get a job with MCD
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
A blatant case of corruption in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) came to light yesterday when two minors were caught drawing salaries. They were employed in the Sanitation Department of the corporation. The children, Jitender and Dharmender, had been working for the Sanitation Department of the corporation since 1994. They are sons of an Assistant Sanitary Inspector, Jeet Ram, who got them employed by allegedly submitting fake certificates to prove that they were eligible for the job.

According to the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the MCD, Mr Prithvi Raj Sawhney, Jeet Ram was suspended from service after he was found involved in the case. However, he has got a stay order from the court against the suspension order issued to him by the authorities concerned. The MCD is trying to get it vacated. Mr Sawhney said an inquiry would be conducted to find out the officer who had issued appointment letters to the minor children. Action would be taken against the corrupt official once the inquiry report was submitted.

A complaint was lodged by the Safai Karamchari Mukti Morcha to the department, pointing out the appointment of the minor children. The issue will be raised in the House, opposition leader Ram Babu Sharma said. Mr Sharma said the department did not verify the age and other credentials of the boys before they were given appointment letters in 1994.
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NCR BRIEFS

Newly-wed killed
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 29
A youth, who was married a day earlier, died tragically in a road accident yesterday. According to a report, Dinesh of Israna village in Panipat district along with his newly- wed wife and other relatives was going to the bride’s house in Moti Bagh, Delhi.

Couple beaten

Faridabad: A young couple, who protested over eve-teasing by some youths, at Bamnikhera village of the district was beaten up. The husband has been admitted to hospital.

According to a report, the victim, Lokesh, got upset when some youths of the village tried to tease his wife.

Traffic blocked

Jhajjar: Enraged students of the local Government College blocked traffic on the Jhajjar- Bahadurgarh road here on Thursday following a road accident in which a college student was injured seriously.

Fire at ISBT office

New Delhi: It was all panic stations when a fire broke out in the Transport Office on the first floor of the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT), Kashmere Gate, today. No one was reported injured in the fire, which was brought under control after about an hour by 16 fire tenders of the Delhi Fire Service. The fire broke out at around 6.15 pm and soon engulfed the entire room on the first floor of the building.

Gold rush

New Delhi: A Delhi Police PCR van has recovered a bag full of gold jewellery worth several lakhs, which was found lying on the footpath. The patrol van, stationed at Ashram Chowk, initially felt the bag was suspicious and nudged it back and forth with sticks.

Burglar alarms

Faridabad: The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) at Panchkula has decided to insist that all allottees of HUDA plots will install burglar alarms and related security gadgets in their buildings. The buildings include residential houses.
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Illegal telephone exchange unearthed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Special Cell of the Delhi Police arrested Ajit Singh and Parveen Kumar for running an illegal telephone exchange in Safdarjang Development area. The telephone exchange was run from C- 17, Community Centre market and Shyama International Guest House, Safdarjang Development Area. Companies operating it are owned by a retired Brigadier of army based in Chandigarh.

Flushed out

The Delhi Police arrested a dreaded criminal of western Uttar Pradesh — who had fortified himself in a rented room and threatened to kill himself — after high drama in Ambedkar Nagar area of South District on Thursday morning, but only after he smashed a beer bottle on his head.

The police said that the suspect, Sunil alias Pehalwan, was not seriously injured. A pistol of foreign make with 40 live rounds was recovered. The suspect was wanted in several cases, including that of murder in Meerut and Hapur, and carried a reward of Rs. 10,000.
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