Tuesday, December 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Satta operators run for cover
‘Corrupt’ policemen try to save their skin
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, December 24
Operators of the illegal businesses of ‘darra’, ‘satta’, and lottery ‘parchi’ in the city are virtually running for cover following the crackdown on them by the police about a week ago.

In an operation, which could be seen as the beginning of a campaign against the well-organised crime, the CIA staff had lifted three known operators of lottery ‘parchi’ and ‘satta’ from Basti Jodhewal more than a week ago. (The issue of the business and the arrests were reported by Ludhiana Tribune in its issues on December 6 and 15) .

Following those arrests and subsequent interrogations, more links in the chain of organised racket started surfacing, which resulted in more arrests. And yet more confessions, more links in the chain, and so on.

And after picking up a number of smaller fish, one of the ‘satta’ sharks about whom Ludhiana Tribune had hinted regarding his operations in Cheema chowk area, was also hauled about four days ago as he was named by one of the accused during interrogation. The arrest was the news of the day in the city’s underworld.

As a result of his arrest, a large number of bookies or ‘khaiwaals’, who used to pass on their daily collections to him, had to rush to other sharks in the business or look elsewhere.

When another bigwig was nabbed from Hargobindpura on Thursday, he started shedding tears. “I have been falsely implicated”, he cried. His cries even drew a big-time politician of the city, who narrowly missed a ministerial berth in the current Punjab cabinet, who came forward to vouch for the ‘good character’ of the accused and assert that he had been falsely implicated. A representation to the police authorities higher than the SSP, alleging undue harassment, was dispatched at the same time.

Another operator of ‘darra’ and ‘satta’ business was lifted from the Transport Nagar a couple of days ago.

The campaign has not only made a definite dent in the business, it has also underlined the fact that it is one of those organised crimes in the city which are carried out with the active involvement of corrupt policemen and politicians.

The campaign is not only causing a flutter in the underworld connected with the activity and affecting business to some extent, it has also upset many an apple-cart belonging to the corrupt cops in league with the ‘satta’ operators. These cops are these days busy in plugging all possible leaking points to ensure that their involvement is not revealed to the ‘Sahib’ (SSP) under any circumstances.

However, it would take a sustained drive stretched over a year or more before Mr Sidhu can possibly claim to have wiped out the evil of ‘darra’ and ‘satta’ from the city. So, time is what he needs. But the big question being asked is, would he get it?

Because, the city’s underworld, which is protected by various politicians, is already reported to be running helter-skelter to get him transferred. The politicians in general and some journalists too, who were used to getting some favours from SSPs earlier, are not much happy with Mr Sidhu as he does not entertain them the way they are accustomed to.



School board exams may be put off
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 24
While the datesheet for final examination of all classes conducted by the Punjab School Education Board has already been declared, there is a likelihood of examination being postponed due to forthcoming elections.

This was stated by Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, while talking to the mediapersons at Master Tara Singh Memorial Public School here today. He said that in case the elections were held on time in February, the examinations, which have been scheduled in the same month, would certainly have to be postponed. He, however, said that in case the elections were postponed apprehending Indo-Pak war, the examination would be conducted as per the schedule.

Dr Kehar Singh said that this time again the roll number slips would be computerised like the previous year but all necessary measures would be taken to ensure that the students got information regarding their roll numbers and their examination centres on time. He said that centres for private candidates would be different from those of the regular students. He said that this arrangement would be made so as to ensure that the cases of copying were reduced at centres.

The chairman also said that the board would now focus on improving the standards of the secondary education. He said that after the ‘sarb shiksha abhiyan’, strength in schools would increase resulting in pressure on secondary education. He also said that more stress would be laid on vocational courses. He said that new self-employment courses might be added in schools to reduce the cases of under-employment in Punjab. He said that open schools being run by the board were getting very good response as over 16,000 students were taking education till Class X in such schools.

Dr Kehar Singh also said that by imparting English medium education in schools, the government had done a major mistake. He said that the students were being made to learn basic concepts by rote. He said that the same subjects if taught to the students in their mother tongue would result in better understanding and quick memorisation.

Dr Kehar Singh also said that 134 new clerks had been appointed by the board. He said that though most of them had been selected on merit, he admitted that a few of them were also appointed on approach by higher officials and colleagues.



NRI family arrested for cheating
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 24
Four members of an NRI family, accused of cheating their daughter-in-law and her parents belonging to Sohian village, near Jagraon, were arrested by the police here last night. The NRI family was on the run for the past few weeks.

The family members, including Khem Singh, his son Swaranjit Singh and two women members settled in Canada and hailing from Badduwal village, near Dharamkot, in Moga district had been booked by the Jagraon police on the charges of cheating Balwinder Singh and his daughter Jaspreet Kaur by getting married to the girl for dowry and to use her NRI status to get the otherwise inelegible Swaranjit Singh to migrate to Canada. The accused had also been charged with making plans to remarry the son.

It was allegedly that for this purpose they had come to India a few weeks ago. But the alertness shown by the girl, now in Canada, and the Jagraon police thwarted the alleged plans of the accused. Not only was their proposed plans flopped but they were forced to become fugitives as the police noose tightened around them. The case was registered last week and the accused were finally arrested last night. 



Mystery over recovery of body
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
Mystery shrouds the recovery of the body of an unidentified youth from Model Town Extension here today as there was difference in claims by the police and civil hospital doctors regarding the cause of the death as well as the economic status of the deceased.

While the Model Town police claimed that the deceased was a beggar and could have died because of starvation, sources in the civil hospital said the post-mortem report suggested that the youth was strangled and there was an injury on the head that seems to have been inflicted by an iron rod. The hospital sources said the youth seemed to be belonging to good family as he had worn a costly jean, a leather belt and a good shirt.

The police, however, sticked to its claims despite the claim of the hospital sources. The body of the youth, aged about 25, was found in an open space near a power grid in Model Town Extension this morning. The body was spotted by some person who come usually daily to sit in the sun. The matter was reported to the police which shifted the body to the Civil Hospital for post-mortem. The police briefed mediapersons that it was a beggar who had died due to starvation and it was not a murder.

However, the case took curious turn in the evening when the hospital sources disclosed that there were strangulation marks on the deceased and an injury on his head which suggested that the youth was murdered. Sources also asserted that the deceased's body did not look like that of a beggar.



Industrialist drugged, looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
A local industrialist, Rajiv Brara, was drugged and robbed of around Rs 40,000 in cash, gold jewellery and a mobile phone somewhere en route from Rajpura to Jalandhar last night.

Mr Brara told Ludhiana Tribune that he was returning to the city from Delhi by a Delhi Roadways bus when a youth travelling with him accosted him and offered him biscuits and tea at Rajpura. He subsequently fell unconscious and woke up at a footpath in Jalandhar today late morning. He couldn’t recall how he reached there.

The industrialist has lodged a complaint with the Government Railway Police. 



New police post in charge
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 24
The in charge of Payal police station and Doraha police chowki have been changed.

Inspector Gulzar Singh has joined as in charge of Payal police station. He was earlier posted at Khanna Police Lines.

Meanwhile, Mr Charan Singh Atwal, in charge, Payal police station, has been shifted to the Police Lines, Khanna.

Also Mr Jagmeet Singh, ASI, has joined as in charge Doraha police chowki, who had been earlier working at Mehdoodan police chowki.

ASI Karnail Singh, in charge Doraha police chowki, has been transferred to Samrala police station.



Police elders meet, revive memories
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 24
Old memories were revived and cherished at a get-together of the police officers, who had served as the district police chief of this district.

Over 12 officers, who had served as Senior Superintendents of Police(SSP) in Ludhiana, some of whom had retired met, at the gazetted officers mess at the police lines at a function ‘Police Elders Day’. This was the first function organised by the Ludhiana police in the state. The function was presided over by the Director General of Punjab Police, Mr Sarbjeet Singh, who had also served as SSP, Ludhiana, in 1976 during the Emergency in the country. Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana, welcomed the retired top brass of the Punjab Police.

According to Mr Sarbjeet Singh, ‘Police Elders Day’ will be an annual feature, where the retired senior police officers and the police pensioners would meet, to revive their memories and discuss the mutual problems. The elders day will be celebrated on third Sunday of December every year and shall be organised on a minimum common basis for each district.

The participating retired and serving officers also laid wreaths at the police memorial and paid tributes to their dead colleagues.

Among the participants was widow of Mr Bakhtawar Singh, who had served as the district police chief at Ludhiana in 1966-67.

The seniormost retired police officers present included Mr D.S. Mangat who retired as DGP, served as SSP, Ludhiana in 1975-75 when Giani Zail Singh was the Chief Minister of Punjab. Mr Mangat escaped an assassination bid as DGP when his car was blown up at Sherpur bypass bridge in Ludhiana in February 1991 by the militants.

Mr R. Sarngal who retired as ADGP was predecessor of Mr Mangat and was transferred from Ludhiana to Ferozepore district.

Mr Mangat was succeeded by the present DGP Mr Sarbjeet Singh as SSP, Ludhiana.

Mr N.S. Phoolka was also present. He had succeeded Mr Sarbjeet Singh as SSP, Ludhiana and was instrumental in checking the smuggling of opium and sale of intoxicants.

Mr G.S. Bhullar who retired as IG and served as Principal Police Training College Phillaur was SSP Ludhiana after Mr Phoolka. Mr Bhullar also served as IG Security with the Chief Minister Mr Beant Singh.

Mr Sube Singh, who also participated in the function yesterday, served as SSP, Ludhiana after Mr Bhullar from 1980 to 1981, was rocked by ‘fake cement' scandal in which a well known business family of Ludhiana was involved and a Punjab Congress leader was also involved. Mr Sube Singh retired as DGP (Vigilance) and also served as DGP during the tenure of Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar. Among those present in the function included Mr D.R. Bhatti, Mr R.S. Gill,IG-Zonal, Patiala, Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, who retired as DIG, Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon, DIG, Ferozepore range, Mr Dinkar Gupta, at present DIG at the state headquarters and Mr Rajkishan Bedi who retired as SSP Khanna police district. Mr Bedi had served at Ludhiana also during the height of militancy in Punjab.

During the tenure of Mr D.R. Bhatti militancy started in Punjab.

The tenure of Mr R.S. Gill, who is now serving as IG Zonal Patiala, witnessed the biggest bank robbery of the country - Rs 6.5 crore were looted from the Punjab National Bank Dholewal Chowk branch.

The tenure of Mr Raj Kishan Bedi saw the car bomb blast in front of the Nirankari Bhavan in which 18 persons were killed on the spot.

Mr Hardeep Singh Dhillon was the first SSP, Jagraon police district, which came into being in 1991 along with Khanna police district. Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu served as SSP when Ludhiana. Mr Sandhu retired as DIG, Ludhiana Range last May.

Mr Bakhtawar Singh, whose widow participated in the function, was the officer who was instrumental in getting accession signed from Maharaja Faridkot after the Partition.

Mr Sarbjit Singh said that the state government had been requested to set up a police board for retied policemen at the state level. He had also sought land for the policemen’s board.

Among those present included Mr J.P. Virdi, IG Zonal, Jalandhar, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, Khanna and Mr Balkar Singh, SSP, Jagraon.



Young Voice
Designing clothes in Mumbai

Rahul Saini
Rahul Saini

Rahul Saini, a city boy who has been designing in the Denim's division of Pantaloon in Mumbai, says that subtle colours, innovative products, embellishments on denims and embroidery and localised fading in colour of denims are in vogue now-a-days. A graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi, Rahul considers himself very lucky working with Pantaloon. "I feel great that I got an opportunity of working with a multinational. One can get all the knowledge of international fashion," said Rahul. He said that brighter shades were replacing the pastel shades. Trendy shirts and trousers with silky touch were also in vogue. Rahul said that women preferred trousers with long coats. But in the ethnic section, salwar-suits with delicate embroidery work remained the favourites among women. Rahul said that his parents were the main source of inspiration. "My mother has always encouraged me. I have successfully done apparel marketing and merchandising management from the NIFT and there is a great demand of this course in the fashion world," added Rahul.



Gaiety marks X’mas party
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 24
Christmas celebrations have begun at Hotel Park Plaza which has been tastefully decorated for the occasion.

A decorated Christmas tree surrounded with gifts and sweets is there. Santa Claus makes its appearance in the evenings and also arrives a choir team comprising six members who sings Christmas carols in the lobby. A grand Christmas brunch would be organised tomorrow at the terrace grill.

There will be games and paper-dressing competitions for the kids. Meanwhile, Connect, HFCL Infotel LTD also organised a Santa’s Christmas road show to celebrate Christmas with the people of Ludhiana. Santa Claus riding a decorated tonga, moved around in the city distributing sweets and candies among children. Santa Claus moved through Sarabha Nagar, Model Town, BRS Nagar, College Road, Rose Garden, Civil Lines, Arti Chowk, Ferozepore Road, Agar Nagar and Brown Road.


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