Thursday, April 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Property sold at throwaway price for tax evasion 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 10
An income tax assessee has reportedly sold properties worth crores of rupees at a throwaway price of about Rs 10 lakh in connivance with the buyers to evade income tax of Rs 1.83 crore.

Income Tax ( IT) sleuths had conducted a raid at Mrs Kulwant Kaur’s residence in BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, on January 8, 1999. The assessee, Mrs Kulwant Kaur, was running a brick manufacturing plant.

During the raid, the IT officials had seized all property documents in the possession of assessee. But she later sold the property despite not having original document in her possession.

The IT officials, however, outmanoeuvred her strategy to evade taxes by recently getting a stay order from the local court of the Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mr S.K. Sharma, on the sale of the property till April 16. Mr Sharma observed that there were sufficient grounds to restrain the buyers from alienating the property till April 16.

According to sources, the IT team led by Mr H.R. Malhotra, the assessing officer, had conducted the raid under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act 1961 in the premises of Ms Kulwant Kaur. She had inherited the property from her deceased husband, and was the proprietor of Vishwakarma Bricks Manufacturing Company.

The IT Department had completed the assessment on January 30, 2001 and had imposed a tax liability of Rs 1,83,12,000 on Mrs Kulwant Kaur and her company.

The accused had allegedly not cooperated with IT sleuths during the raid and subsequent inquiry. Rather she had devised a trick to sell her disputed properties. According to the sources, she transferred 16-kanal land in Dharaud village to Mr Rajiv Kumar for just Rs 3 lakh and registered the deed before Joint Sub Registrar, Dehlon, on September 7, 1999.

Using the same trick again, she sold her other property measuring 10 kanal and 9 marla in the same village to Ms Sita Rani for Rs 1.96 lakh. Similarly she sold another piece of land in the same area to Ms Sita Rani for Rs 1.23 lakh. She also sold one more piece of land measuring 16 kanal to Mr Ashwani Kumar for Rs 3 lakh on September 14, 1999. All these sale deeds were reportedly registered at Joint Sub Registrar’s office, Dehlon.

According to the sources, as soon as the IT department came to know about the alleged cheating by the assessee, an application was filed in the court, demanding declaration of sales deeds null and void.

The counsel of the complainant pointed out that all respondents including, Mrs Kulwant Kaur and the persons whom she sold her property, had conspired for wrongful gains and to evade income tax. He further stated before the court that the sales deeds had been effected only to play fraud. 



Corporation flouts EC directions
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 10
In a blatant violation of directions issued by the state Election Commissioner not to initiate any new project in the wake of civic elections in Punjab, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, with almost empty coffers, is out with floating tenders for development projects.

The Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, through his office letter dated April 4, has fixed the date for civic poll on May 19 and directed the district and civic administration of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala to ensure that no payment was made from discretionary funds and all new projects were completely banned.

However, buckling under immense pressure from councillors, who desperately wanted commencement of development projects in their respective wards, top civic officials have cleared estimates worth Rs 25 crore which were given a nod by the Finance and Contract Committee of the MC during its earlier meetings.

The MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, is on record having claimed that the ongoing development works in the city were roughly to the extent of Rs 175 crore at present, which included Rs 57 crore cost of the two flyovers and an elevated road. In addition, the MC has received a part of Rs 105 crore loan from HUDCO for sewerage projects, which has to be paid back in annual instalments.

With the instalment of Rs 10 crore due in March on account of loss of revenue from octroi, still no where in sight, the financial condition of the civic body is precarious and according to sources, if the government failed to fulfill its obligation of compensating the loss of revenue caused by abolition of octroi, the MC would not even be in a position to meet its establishment expenses. On one hand, the civic body was indiscriminately floating tenders, running into several crores, while on the other hand, the payments due to contractors have not been made for months together.

However, on paper the financial health of the MC seems bright if anything. Not only that the state government was withholding the monthly instalment to make good the loss suffered due to abolition of octroi, a staggering sum of Rs 22 crore being arrears of additional excise duty and Rs 4 crore central grant sanctioned from the Infrastructure Development Fund for the Dhandari Kalan flyover project have not been paid to the MC, which has further made the financial scenario bleak.

The sources said after the Congress government assumed office in the state and the indication for civic poll before the expiry of the term of present MC’s was given, various ministers and local Congress legislators had been pressing MC officials hard to speed up allocation of more funds and take up development projects, both in the wards, represented by Congress councillors or from where influential Congress functionaries intended to contest the elections.

The mess, the MC administration finds itself in, is of its own making. “Rather than withstanding the political pressure and choosing to act judiciously and on the basis of financial resources available with it for development works, the civic administration simply bent backwards to please its political masters,” remarked a senior councillor belonging to the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the civic body.



Congress wins MC chief's post
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 10
The Congress party today achieved a major success when its candidate Baldev Singh Aulakh was elected unanimously as president of the Municipal Council of Amloh reserved for backward caste candidate. The meeting was chaired by Mr Ramesh Gupta, vice-president, all 11 members of the council, besides Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, were present in the municipal hall.

The special meeting was called on April 8 to elect the president. Mr Jiwan Puri proposed the name of Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh which was seconded by Mrs Santosh Rani and was passed unanimously.

The vacancy of the council chief was caused by the removal of Mr Baldev Sedha. Mr Sedha was elected president in June 2000 on the basis of a Backward Class certificate procured by him on November 20, 1997.

Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh had challenged the authenticity of the certificate but the returning officer had declared Mr Sedha elected. After a probe into the matter, the Social Welfare Department, Punjab, declared Mr Baldev Sedha as belonging to suniar(swarnkar) caste and not Soni rajput. Thereafter, Mr Baldev Sedha challenged the decision of the welfare department through a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High court which was dismissed. He again filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of India which was dismissed as withdrawn.

The Local Government, Punjab, then issued a show cause-notice and also provided him with an opportunity of a personal hearing. After completing the process the department issued directions to proceed further for the conduct of the election of the president.

While addressing a gathering, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA ,said that he would work hard to get maximum development works for the town. Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh, the newly-elected president, assured that the left out wards would be developed.

Mr Jiwan Puri councillor and general secretary, block Congress, raised the demand of laying sewerage in the town. Mr D R Sood, a former vice-president of the council, and a Congress leader, called it a success for the party. Later a procession was taken out the bazaars raising slogans in favour of the Congress party, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh were present. Mr Gurdev Singh Khanian, Mr Gurdev Singh Amloh, Mr Joginder Singh, Naraingarh and other Congress leaders were also present. 



Electoral staff acted in ‘partisan’ manner
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
Although the process for enumeration of voters in a door-to-door campaign for revision of electoral rolls for the forthcoming municipal elections in the city ended on April 8 and the preliminary publication of draft electoral rolls would be done on April 11, activists of various political parties have alleged that staff, deployed on duty, have acted in a partisan manner. Many city localities, they said, were left out during the enrolment of new voters, while at other places, new votes were included only at the instance of certain influential politicians.

In a complaint lodged with the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Dev), Mr A.K. Sinha, who is the District Electoral Officer for civic poll, one of the sitting BJP councillors, Mr Sunil Mehra, has rued that in Ward No. 62, an estimated 8,000 new voters were denied enrolment in areas like Pindi Street, Chaura Bazar, Sati Sudan Street and Maleri Street to Kotwali Road. Similarly, in localities like Niggar Mandi, Meena Bazar, Mohalla Narian and Partap Bazar of Ward No. 63 no employee had visited houses for registration of new voters.

In a joint statement, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Khalsa, General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), and Mr G. Pal Singh Chadha, ward president of the BJP, have charged the staff of election duty with playing in the hands of area councillor of Ward No. 51, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, and denying the right of enrolment to vote bank of his political opponents. They maintained that the employees put on enumeration work had not visited areas like Brown Road, Kucha Inayat Khan, left side of Jail Road and Kalgidhar Road.



Swapping duties affects Class V results
Mahesh Sharma

Ahmedgarh, April 10
The deputation of primary school teachers to non-teaching jobs during the crucial period of previous academic session has resulted in decline in pass percentage, which has affected schools in rural area more than those in urban areas.

Survey conducted on the results of all 48 schools of the block revealed that around 19 per cent students of Class V failed in examination conducted by the State Council of Education Research and Training. In all 1,784 students out of 2,200 passed the examination. Out of 1,166 boys, only 946 succeeded whereas 841 girls passed out of 1,034. Result in rural schools was poorer (pass percentage 78.43) compared with urban schools (86.5 per cent). Rural boys (78.8 per cent) showed better performance than rural girls (77.9 per cent) whereas urban girls (88.08 per cent) registered a lead over urban boys (85.14 per cent).

Same trend was observed in general category (boys 85 per cent, girls 88.36 per cent). Dalit students showed the reverse pattern (boys 71.8 per cent, girls 66.26 per cent). Their overall success remained lowest at 69.28 per cent. Private schools showed better results (92.1 per cent) as against government schools (72.31 per cent). Again, girls of private schools performed better (94.66 per cent) whereas boys of government schools fared better (73.44 per cent) than government school girls (71.06 per cent).

Blaming the examination system and practice of deputing government school teachers to non-teaching jobs, Mr Dharam Paul Sharma said study at primary schools had been interrupted many times during the previous session. The SCERT exam commenced in the middle of February, thus decreasing the span by one and a half month. Mrs Rachhpal Kaur Sandhu said council adopted relatively strict regulation to decide the promotion criterion. Even if a student fell short of one mark of the stipulated percentage he was detained whereas the regulations for Class VIII and X exam were different.



Faction-ridden parties prepare for civic poll
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 10
With the date for elections to the Municipal Corporations in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala having been announced by the State Election Commission, all major political parties have started gearing up for the electoral battle. Even as the prospective candidates and aspirants for party tickets have resorted to hectic lobbying, all three major political parties — Congress, BJP and SAD — coming to terms with dissidence from within.

Although the civic elections are contested basically on local issues and civic matters and the individuals play a vital role, yet going by the re-emergence of the Congress and the performance of the erstwhile ruling coalition of the SAD-BJP in the recently held Assembly elections, the political observers strongly feel that a Congress-dominated civic bodies were greater probabilities.

The convincing victory in Assembly elections notwithstanding and a wave like situation in favour of the Congress still persisting, quite a few senior Congress leaders were engaged in a battle of supremacy and many of them were not even on speaking terms with each other. To make the matters worse, the situation in the Youth Congress was no better with the authority of the district level leadership being challenged from all quarters.

That all is not well within the Congress in the city came to fore recently when the Congress councillors got together at the residence of the party MP, who had promised them to arrange a meeting with the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh. According to a party councillor, who was present at the meeting, one of the local Congress legislators rebuked the councillors for coming to MP’s residence. Many of the shell-shocked councillors reportedly took to their heels with much embarrassment to their group leader and the host.

The challenge posed by the dissident group to the BJP District President, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi and the expulsion of Mr Sunil Mehra from the party, has undermined the party image.

The position of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), as far as its district unit is concerned, is no better, with the dissidents, led by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, let go of no opportunity to show Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, the acting district president, in bad light.

According to sources close to Mr Bhatia, a vice-president of the SAD-B, in the course of the long drawn out battle for dominance in the district unit, Mr Makkar might have won a battle by securing party ticket for the Assembly election from Ludhiana West, which he eventually lost, the war was still on. The Makkar camp, however, claimed that Mr Bhatia had openly revolted against the official party candidate and the party leadership contemplated taking disciplinary action against him, which might come any moment in the next few days.



Constitution panel’s recommendation hailed
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, April 10
Residents have appreciated and accepted the recommendation of National Commission to review the working of the Constitution (CRC) with regard to deleting explanation II of Article 25. According to this explanation, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism have been clubbed with Hindu religion. They think that this amendment in the Constitution would increase the morale of minority communities.

An academician, Mr Harcharan Bains, says: “The amendment to the Constitution is necessary to counter the potential of the mischief and conclude about separateness and separatism of Sikh religion from other dominant sects of the country.” He says that the explanation II to Article 25 of the Constitution clubbing Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains provides the gunpowder for political adventurism, based on communal considerations.

He is of the view that the separatism of Sikh religion has never been in doubt and the fact has been acknowledged by the CRC. Mr Bains opines that Sikhs are a separate religion, but part of India.

A renowned poet and scholar, Surjit Patar, opines that this recommendation is good for the Sikhs as well as others. He is of the view that when Sikh religion has been explained as a religion in the Constitution, then there should not be any confusion by any explanation of any Article of the Constitution.

Surjit Patar says great souls propound religion for the welfare of masses, commoners follow it to live happily, but shrewd people use it for their vested interest. This amendment would reduce the chance of playing dirty political games by some clever people who use religion as tool.

An entrepreneur, Mr Sunder Singh, says that it is good recommendation by the CRC to delete the clause explaining Sikhism as part of Hindu religion. He is of the view that this would definitely be a setback for those who make an issue out of it for personal gains.

He says it is really tragic that when other countries are talking about economic and technological advancement, we are still busy with finding ways to tackle religious problems.

A noted poet and writer, Kulwant Jagraon, is of the view that deletion of the explanation II of Article 25 would morally boost the minorities. He says that when in the entire Constitution it is admitted that Sikhism is a separate region then there should not be any explanation clubbing it with Hindu religion.

He is of the view that when all three religions mentioned in the explanation of Article 25 have their own rites, rituals and different way of worshipping then they should be accepted as separate religions.



Salsa sensation
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 10
A slightly built man, he has a Buddhist hymn tattooed on his arm. He made to the Guinness Book of World Records when he was in his teens for dancing non-stop for 50 hours in Delhi in 1977. The dancing superstar is a 24-year-old Sikkimese Kaytee Namgyar. Currently he is in the city to conduct a workshop on an Afro-Caribbean-Latino-dance called salsa. The workshop started on April 8 and will continue till April 15 at Magnet Resort. “Even police officers are keen on learning the dance.” Salsa is a vigorous dance and requires a lot of grace, skill and technique and above all, passion for dancing,” says Kaytee. The workshop is being organised by the Entertainment Management Promotional Consultants. (EMPC).

Kaytee says,” I have a passion for dancing and I started at the age of four. We had to move from picturesque Sikkim to Delhi as my father passed away. A movie “Dance with Me”, proved to be a turning point in my life. My passion for salsa was awakened. Fortunately, I was in Japan with my mother. I learnt salsa from Princess of Salsa, Josire Negliye. She is based in Los Angeles but conducts classes all over the world. I am going to LA soon to join a teachers training course in salsa.”

Salsa filled me with joy. I conduct salsa classes in different cities. I am overwhelmed by the response here.”

Kaytee has also mastered hip-hop an Afro-American dance, popular young blacks. Trained in jazz with Ashley Lobo, Kaytee can play the guitar. He can also set to music his songs.

He runs two salsa schools in Delhi and with his German and Dutch friends has opened a website salsa_ india. com. “We aim to promote unity through salsa. We organise parties and through dance our chain of friends grows. Our society also raises funds, which are donated to Global March, an NGO working to end child labour.



CBI enquiry demanded
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 10
A resident of Ward 1, Dalip Singh Sidhu has demanded an inquiry into the misuse of funds and property worth lakhs belonging to the Morinda church falling in Roopnagar, from the CBI. He has sent registered letters to the Prime Minister and other heads concerned. In a statement released to the press, he pointed out that the main accused were Mr Bansi Lal, of Issa Nagri, Ludhiana and his seven associates.

He added that land was illegally sold by them and funds misused. Rent from shops belonging to the church was not deposited in any bank or ledger. He alleged that when he approached the court, the accused attacked him with sharp-edged weapons. 



Commission agent robbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
A commission agent was robbed of Rs 3 lakh by some unidentified youth in the Focal Point area here today.

The youth escaped after taking the money from the scooter of the agent.

According to the police sources, Pawan Kumar, a commission agent, had withdrawn Rs 3 lakh from a bank and kept the money in the tool box of his scooter.

He had reportedly parked his scooter outside his factory and asked the security guard to keep a watch on it.

Pawan Kumar claimed that a group of youth came on another scooter and broke open the tool box and took away the money. By the time the security guard could raise an alarm they had fled.

The police has registered a case. 



Murder case solved, claims police
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
The Jagraon police claims to have solved the murder case of Dilbag Singh, a resident of Halwara. Dilbag was murdered allegedly by the paramour of his daughter, Harpal Singh, and his accomplice Krantipal Singh with the help of a sharp-edged weapon on April 1.

The police said the accused, Harpal Singh, had illicit relations with Karamjit Kaur, the daughter of Dilbag Singh. 


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