Sunday, April 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


27-yr-old computer engineer done to death
Tribune News Service


Ludhiana, April 27
A youth was murdered allegedly by some unidentified persons here today. The youth was allegedly poisoned first and was later hanged from a ceiling fan in his house at Street No. 2 of Bharat Nagar colony by the killers.

The deceased has been identified as Rohit, alias Raju, a 27-year-old computer engineer. The police was suspecting that his failed love-affair with a girl, also a resident of the city, could be the reason behind the brutal killing.

The murder angle behind the youth's unnatural death was confirmed in the evening only when the report of post-mortem examination conducted by a board of doctors at the local civil hospital revealed that the youth was first poisoned and was then hung from a ceiling fan. The viscera of the deceased has been sent for chemical examination to Patiala.

The police had not confirmed the murder till late in the evening. Earlier, it was saying that the youth could have committed suicide. The police confirmed the murder only after receiving the post-mortem examination report.

Police sources said in the evening that the suicide angle was still being probed but the main circumstantial evidence suggested he was murdered.

According to information given by the deceased’s relatives, the youth had an affair with a girl in the city, and the girl's parents were against it. The girl was recently engaged to an NRI and was about to go abroad after marriage.

A friend of the deceased youth had reportedly returned some photographs and love-letters to the girl a couple of days ago. Though the boy was dejected and upset, everything seemed fine as far as the relationship was concerned.

However, to the utter shock of the deceased’s relatives and friends, he was found dead today morning. His body was found hanging from the ceiling fan of a room. His hands and legs were tied with a rope and his mouth was gagged with a cloth. The hands were tied at the back.

The deceased was the only son of an aged couple. His father, a retired teacher, was suffering from renal failure.

His condition had deteriorated today early morning and the youth had taken him to a city hospital at around 5a.m.

Later, his Uncle Ranbir Singh, who lived nearby, came to the house at about 8am and found that main door of the house was bolted from inside. He got suspicious when no one answered his calls and called other people of the area.

Some persons went into the house through the roof of an adjoining house and opened the door and found the body.

Ranbir Singh said his nephew had been murdered as his hands were tied behind his back and his mouth was also gagged so there was no chance of his having committed suicide.

Police sources revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that the police had already detained a youth for questioning regarding the unnatural death and had got several clues and the case would be cracked soon

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom had descended on the colony as the residents were shocked at the untimely death of the youth. The mother of the youth was inconsolable.

The police said the most mysterious part was that how the alleged killers had come to know that the youth was alone at that time. The police had not recovered any suicide note.



Appointments settle Arya College row
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 27
The storm that had rocked Ludhiana’s prestigious Arya College for Boys has settled down with the appointment of Mr Vijay Sathi from Moga as the president of Arya Vidya Parishad, Punjab and Mr Jiwan Ahuja, Head of Chemistry Department, as the acting Principal. In supersession of all previous orders in respect to the college, Mr Harbans lal Sharma , president of both A BVP and Arya Prathinidhi Sabha, Punjab, by virtue of power vested in him had made the new appointments. This marks a new era for the college which had been rocked by several controversies when the management was under Lala Lajpat Rai , MP, Rajya Sabha (BJP).

The newly appointed secretary Mr S.K. Syal and other members of the committee , members of both teaching and non-teaching staff talked to Ludhiana Tribune about the sense of relief that they had experienced after the transition of power from the old to the new management. Mr Vijay Sathi said, “I along with my committee members reached the college . We requested the acting Principal Mr S.S. Verma, to continue as Principal as only two months of his tenure were left and not to get into any controversy. But he remained indecisive and was in constant consultation with Lalaji who was in his retiring room. But even after two hours of deliberations, no decision was taken by them .Finally Mr Verma was handed over the suspension notice. But he did not accept it and walked away and so did the MP. Mr Verma can continue as Head of Physics Department. Mr Jiwan Verma ,the senior most member, was appointed as the acting Principal. Lala Lajpat Rai had made the college a den for the activities of RSS and had created a vertical split among the staff members favouring supporters of the BJP and victimising those who were not.” said he was only given five minutes to take a decision. He had asked Mr Sathi to give him two days, but he was refused. He said he hadn’t been given any letter of termination of his services. Moreover, according to the rules of Panjab University the senior most member has to be the principal and he was the senior most. He said, “I had brought a lot of improvement in the college in my tenure of one and half years. The attendance of students had risen from 30 per cent to 90 per cent. The bad element from the college had been eliminated and the staff was happy.”

But some staff members refuted his statement. They said they were feeling relieved. Mr A.K. Handa, and Davinder Joshi , president and secretary of Arya College Teachers’ Union said there was a feeling of relief among a majority of the teaching staff. “They had victimised some teachers so much that they needed psychiatric help. Mr Rajeev Bhasin and Mr Kamal Dhall president and secretary of the Non-Teaching Staff Union said those who did not become RSS workers at their bidding had been involved in court cases as they had been implicated in false cases at the bidding of Lalaji who had enjoyed a clout when the SAD-BJP government was in power. Leaders of both teaching and non-teaching staff have pledged their support to the new management.

The new secretary, Mr S.K. Syal, associated with the college for the past four decades said with anguish, “When Lalaji forcibly took over the management one-and-a-half years ago, the college had assets of one-and-a-half crores. Now a part of the college building is mortgaged with a bank as guarantee of loan of Rs 15 lakhs that the management took. Lalaji says that he gave Rs10 lakh to college from his discretionary fund. We are going to appoint a vigilance committee to look into financial irregularities and deeds of omission and commission.”

Ms Rajesh Sharma, a member said, “The old management had implemented me in a false case too. But later the FIR was quashed? Can any one tell us how could Lalaji become the president of an Arya Samaj peremier institute when he is not even an Arya Samaji? Right from the beginning, the Arya Samajis did not like his entry but he occupied the post as Mr Harbans Lal was ill and he said his appointment was made by Mr K.K. Pasricha, the acting president for a little time.”

Lalaji said he was going to hold a meeting of old management and see what could be done to remedy the situation." No way”, says Mr Vijay Sathi and new committee members. “We are here to stay.”



Kochhar blamed for missing answersheets
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 27
An enquiry committee constituted to probe into the missing answersheets scandal has held Dr Ravinder Kochhar, Controller of the Examination, Punjab Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, directly responsible for the answersheets that went missing from a Ludhiana centre during the 2000-2001 supplementary and annual exams.

The enquiry committee constituted by the Board of Studies of the Council, comprising Dr O.P. Vig and Dr Rachpal Singh Deol have in their enquiry report specifically blamed Dr Kochhar for the missing answersheets during supplementary and annual exams 2000-2001 held in March/April at Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic College centre.

The committee members have said in their report that Dr Kochhar was given apparent time to explain his position to the council, regarding the issue, but he failed to produce any evidence proving his innocence.

The Controller, Dr Kochhar, in his reply had said that the remaining answersheets were with him, at the time of concluding of examinations on October 6, 2000. He also admitted that before the start of the above-said examinations, the answersheets from previous session were used first in which four answersheets (bearing number 018859,860,956 and 957) were reported missing. He also stated that the necessary information regarding the missing answersheets was given to the Registrar of the Council in writing. But on scrutiny of documents i.e. copy of the store and stock register maintained by centre superintendent, the answersheets were found missing and the superintendent said that he did not receive any information regarding the missing answersheets from the Controller, Dr Kochhar. The issue relating to missing answersheets was never brought to the notice of the member of flying squad, who visited the examination centre during the theory exams by the centre superintendent or the Controller of Examination.

The enquiry committee report has stated that the peon of the college, Sant Ram, was asked to appear before the committee in which he stated that the keys of almirah in which answersheets were kept by the controller/centre superintendent remained in the custody of Dr Kochhar only.

The enquiry committee in their report said that the lapse relating to the missing answersheets was committed at the level of Dr Ravinder Kochhar and no other person was to be held responsible for act.

The enquiry committee in the enquiry report to the Board of Studies has urged the concerned authorities to take appropriate action against Dr Kocchar as he had brought a bad name to the Council and the students involved in the scandal by the replacement of answersheets had hoodwinked the examination system in connivance with the Controller of the Examination.



Commuters in a jam for two hours
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Last evening at around 8 pm the Fountain Chowk, which is considered to be a traffic bottleneck of the city became a jamming, point for a large number of commuters for more than two hours. The presence of the traffic cops, became redundant when vehicles from five roads approaching the chowk blocked it. The smooth flow of traffic at the roundabout could be resumed only after 10 p.m.

The chaos was created because the traffic lights had not been working and the cops on duty could not manage the traffic.

The commuters, for an easy way out, started crossing the roundabout, not giving way to the vehicles coming from their right, which ultimately blocked the traffic for a long time. A large number of commuters had to suffer consequently. All through the jam, traffic cops seemed to be helpless. 



Novel protest
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 27
A truck driver blocked traffic at the Amloh Road Chowk on G.T. Road after a traffic police official allegedly asked him for a bribe of Rs 600 for overloading the truck.

Gurdip Singh a truck driver was coming from Guwahati to Tarn Taran. When he reached the Amloh Road traffic light point, a police person climbed onto his truck and asked him for Rs 1000 for overloading. After an argument, the police personnel settled for Rs 600 and let the truck go. In the meanwhile another policeman approached Gurdip Singh and told him that he had been summoned by an officer. Gurdip Singh argued that he had already paid Rs 600 to another policeman, but the traffic in charge filed a challan for the truck (no PB 05-F-9918).



National SC, ST panel head to visit city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The Chairman of National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission (SC and ST), Mr Vijay Sonkar Shastri and the Union Minister, Mr Satya Narain Jatia would visit Ludhiana on April 28.



One held on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 27
The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested a man named Gurcharan Singh, who lives in Kulgehna village, on the charge of killing a man called Mukhtiar Singh of Talwandi Kalan, whose skull and clothes had been found in a cane field of Mr Surjit Singh, a former sarpanch of Madarpur village.

The police had arrested a man called Piara Singh of Nurke village in this case earlier. It was searching for two more accused in this case — Harnek Singh and Harchand Singh — who had absconded.

According to a press note issued here today by Mr Balkar Singh Sandhu, Senior Superintendent of Police, the accused used to sell poppy husk and illicit liquor along with Mukhtiar Singh, whom they, later, killed. Mukhtiar Singh had earned enormous wealth the accused used to enjoy its benefits, but, when Mukhtiar became penniless, these men murdered him.

Spring knife seized: The Dehlon police arrested a man called Harbans Singh, who lives in Ghugrana village, on the charge of keeping a spring knife. A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered against him.

Liquor seized: The Dehlon police has arrested a man called Balwant Singh of Kotli village and seized from him some illicit liquor that he was carrying from Chak Kalan village on his Bajaj Chetak scooter (PB-J-6513).

The police has registered a case under the Excise Act and impounded the scooter.

Case registered: Balwant Singh and Balwinder Singh of Bhatia village have been arrested by the Dakha police. Balwant Singh was accused of harassing his wife Charanjit Kaur for dowry, which forced her to live with her parents at Badaich village. On the complaint of Gurjit Kaur, the police has registered a case under Sections 498-A, 364, 511, 452, 324, 148 and 149, IPC. Both the accused entered Charanjit Kaur’s house at Badaich village and forcibly took her on a tractor. The accused allegedly pushed her from the tractor causing injuries to her.

2 arrested for assault: The local police has arrested Daljit Singh alias Fauji of Ramgarh Bhullar and Sukhdeep Singh alias Sukha of Galib Kalan village, who along with Raju, Mitha, Gurpreet Singh and Balwant Singh, had caused injuries to Rakesh Kumar of Partap Nagar mohalla here. They had entered his shop with iron rods about one and half years back and had taken him to their office in a jeep. They also snatched Rs 8,700 in cash from him. A case under Sections 452, 323, 325, 506, 342, 148 and 149 was registered against the accused.

Two held: The Sidhwan Bet police arrested Jaswant Singh alias Kaka and Malkit Singh alias Raghbir Singh of Sidhwan Bet and registered a case against them under Sections 326, 382, 511 and 34, IPC. The complainant, Pritam Kaur, had alleged that both entered her house and threw chilly powder in her eyes. Raghbir Singh tried to snatch a gold earring but they fled the scene after an alarm was raised.

Police action condemned: Mr Sukhdev Singh Manuke, district president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Mazdoor Union Punjab, in a press note have condemned the conduct of Barnala Police.

They stated that they had taken Babli, a labourer, to a police station in a theft case where she was tortured by policemen. Babli allegedly committed suicide by burning herself due to the inhuman behaviour meted out to her. The union has demanded action against the erring police officials.



Manufacturers condemn excise duty on bicycles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The All India Cycle Manufacturers Association has condemned the imposition of central excise duty on the cycle industry by the Union government in the amended budget yesterday. The Association has threatened that if the cycle industry was not excluded from excise duty, they would start a peaceful agitation .

Addressing mediapersons in the presence of Lala Lajpat Rai, Member Parliament, Mr Onkar Singh Pahwa, Convenor of the Joint Action Committee and office-bearers of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA), Mr D.S. Chawla and Mr K.K. Seth said that in the amended budget that was announced yesterday, the excise duty on cycle parts and accessories was withdrawn, while it was imposed on cycle, tyres and tubes, as well as dynamos.

They said that they would meet the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee along with Lala Lajpat Rai and urge him to roll back the imposition of excise duty. They also said that after the imposition of excise duty, the price of a bicycle had gone up by Rs 50 to Rs 75 each and the around 20 per cent sale of the bicycles had already come down.

Lala Lajpat Rai assured his support to the cycle manufacturers regarding the issue.

The office-bearers said that for the past 17 years there was no excise duty on bicycles and the parts and this was for the first time that the government had thought of including this industry also in the excise net. Stating that there were around 3,000 cycle units in the city itself, Mr Onkar Singh said that all manufacturers were suffering along with the poor strata of the society who depended on bicycles as a mode of commuting throughout their lives. Moreover, a bicycle was a pollution-free vehicle, required no fuel and was the only way to fight the burgeoning traffic problem in the major cities. The office-bearers of the Association had met the PM as well as the Finance Minister last month with Lala Lajpat Rai and both the ministers had assured them that the excise duty would not be imposed on cycle industry in any case.

Mr D.S. Chawla said that the cycle industrialists were feeling cheated after the yesterday’s announcement and would be launching a agitation peaceful if their demands were not met. 


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