Sunday, April 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Tax men also on Sidhu’s trail
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Sleuths of the Income Tax Department are closing in on the arrested Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman, Ravi Sidhu, with their own investigation into the origin of huge cash amounts and other assets which have been recovered by the Punjab Vigilance Department.

The action will be coming within next week, top sources told ‘The Tribune’ tonight. This will have a cascading effect on the Sidhu case as it will ultimately lead to people who paid huge sums to get class I jobs in Punjab.

Tax men are also busy collecting information on Sidhu’s brother, mother, family members and accomplices from huge amounts of cash has been recovered. This include Sidhu’s mother, brother Reetinder Singh his wife. Assets of Jagman Singh, an associate of Sidhu will also be investigated.

The Director Investigation, Income Tax, Mr C.K. Vohra, confirmed that the department has sent a formal request to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau for details of the cash. After the recovery of Rs 8.16 crore from the bank lockers of Sidhu’s family members, the Income Tax Department has further speeded up its action. Income Tax records of the previous financial years are being fished out to ascertain what amounts of income was shown in the income tax returns.

Sources said such huge amounts of cash lying in bank lockers is usually unaccountable. The logic is: If it’s white money (popular term for accounted cash) he and his family members would have gone in for legal investments like fixed deposits. Since it was lying in lockers it has to be unaccounted.

Income tax teams will also be checking registers of the banks where such lockers existed. The dates of opening the lockers will be matched with the dates of the PPSC examinations in which appointments have been made in lieu of bribes. The dates mentioned on each wad of notes will be matched to check which bank issued the notes. Then the accounts of all people who withdrew huge sums from the said bank will be checked.

Under the Income Tax Act the department can recover up to 40 per cent of the ill-gotten wealth besides levying a penalty up to 300 per cent for hiding the income and not showing it in the annual IT returns. Sources said it was the huge amounts of cash which set the tax men on Sidhu’s trail.Back


Swami’s remarks cause clash
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, April 20
The town today observed a bandh following clashes between members of the Swami Shraddhanand Jagriti Sansthan and representatives of the majority community here late last evening. The clashes started when followers of Swami Shraddhanand allegedly used objectionable words against Sikh Gurus, according to a complaint received by the police. Some persons sustained injuries during stone-pelting.

The situation remained tense throughout the day as an agitated gathering demanded the arrest of the followers of the Swami. According to eyewitnesses, the followers of the Swami resorted to stone-pelting on members of the majority community who had assembled outside the temple to lodge a protest against “blasphemous statements” being telecast live on the local cable.

Among those who sustained injuries in the clash were Daljit Singh Sodhi, Paul Singh and Manjit Singh Thekedar.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, the local SDM and Mr Makhan Singh SP (D) said action would be taken against the alleged culprits. Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, a member of the SGPC, alleged that derogatory remarks were used against the Gurus.

The complainants claimed that they had approached the police to prevent the ‘noormehlias’ from holding a religious gathering here as they apprehended that objectionable statements would be used against the other community. However, no preventive measure was taken against the holding of such a gathering. The eyewitnesses alleged that the ‘noormehlias’ used derogatory remarks against Editors of some leading magazines and newspapers and dubbed them as agents of Pakistan.

The SGPC has taken serious note of the incident. A press note issued by the SGPC alleged that after the provocative speech of the Swami, at least 40 persons sustained injuries. It further said a fact-finding team headed by Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate and a flying squad of the SGPC had been rushed to the site to take stock of the situation.

It alleged that the temple committee had admitted in writing that the Swami Shraddhanand had used objectionable language against the Sikhs and Sikh Gurus. The temple committee had assured the SGPC that the Swami would not be allowed to enter the temple again.Back

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