Wednesday, May 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Another case against Sidhu, kin
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Necessitated by the growing ramifications of the country’s biggest ever “recruitment scam”, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau has brought under scrutiny all appointments recommended by Ravi Sidhu-led Punjab Public Service Commission by registering a fresh case at Patiala today.

Though the sources maintain that registration of a fresh case has nothing to do with the remote possibility of the entire investigation being shifted to the Central Bureau of Investigation — Ravi Sidhu, the main accused, at one stage, made a demand to this effect — yet it would provide sufficient leverage to the investigators to probe deeper into one of the most publicised “recruitment scam” of independent India.

The new case has been registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471-A and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 7, 13(1)(d)(i) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Ravi Sidhu, his mother, brother, sister-in-law and all “Go-betweens” the Chairman of the PPSC and the candidates.

The first case was registered against Ravi Sidhu on March 25 after he was nabbed “red-handed” accepting bribe of Rs 5 lakh from Bhupjit Singh, an Excise and Taxation Inspector, on the charges of accepting a bribe and for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income .

“Since the recruitment scam has assumed much bigger proportion and a large number of appointments recommended by the Commission appear to be tainted, the Bureau has decided to register a new case at Patiala,” the Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director, Punjab Vigilance Bureau Mr A.P. Pandey, told newsmen here this afternoon.

“So far, the Bureau has been able to lay its hands upon four of the agents who worked for Ravi Sidhu. Those arrested are Jagman Singh, Paramjit Singh Pamma, Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira and Prem Sagar. The fifth suspect, Dr Shamsher Singh, was absconding, — Mr Pandey said maintaining that there was not enough evidence to “question” Reetinder Singh, a brother of Ravi Sidhu, before he flew back to the United States of America.

“We are not going slow on any one,” said Mr Pandey maintaining that “all those against whom we have solid evidence would be proceeded against as per law of the land.”

Mr Pandey said that Mrs Pritpal Kaur, mother of Ravi Sidhu, was “hiding”.

Talking about seeking the extradition of Reetinder Singh, Mr Pandey said that “we have to have a solid case before we can move for the extradition of Reetinder”. He admitted that inlaws of Reetinder Singh have not been questioned as yet.

Mr Pandey also released a list of 32 appointees, who, he alleged, had got the “jobs either by bribing the PPSC chairman through one of his agents or had sifarish.”

“We have drawn this list on the basis of the disclosures made by Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira, and Prem Sagar. We will gradually come out with more names as interrogation of these persons progresses further,” he said.

Asked what was the “cut” Dhira or other agents got for bringing the prospective clients to the PPSC chairman, Mr Pandey said that “so far they have been maintaining that they did not get any cut and were doing so as social service. But the property amassed by Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira, during the past five years is being investigated.”

Mr Pandey said that of the 32 persons named by Dhira and other agents, identity of three could not be established conclusively. Of the rest eight were in PCS (Judicial) and remaining 21 were in PCS (Executive Branch) and have been presently in service.

Those named and amount of bribe given by them to get the coveted posts are : Deepak Gakhar (65 lakh), Jiwan Garg (60 lakh), Kamal Garg (50 lakh), Randip Singh (42 lakh), Sukhwinder S. Brar (40 lakh, Kuljit Kaur (70 lakh), Bharat Bhushan (45 lakh), Maninder Singh (40 lakh), Ram Saran (32 lakh), Rajinder Bansal (32-35 lakh, Preetinder Singh (32-35 lakh), Monica Sethi (33 lakh), Navdeep Singh (25 lakh), Mandeep Kaur (25 lakh), Anil K. Jindal (25 lakh), Gurinderjit Singh (4.5 lakh for appointment as SDO), P.S. Sodhi (15 lakh), Bhupinderjit Singh (15 lakh), I.S. Kahlon (15 lakh), Balraj Kaur (26 lakh), Pritpal Singh Grewal (26 lakh), Gurdev Singh (25 lakh), O.P. Verma (35 lalkh), Jarnail Singh (22 lakh), Baljit Singh (20 lakh), and three others whose identity is yet to be established.


Dhira’s Ludhiana house raided
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Following the return of some family members of Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira, the alleged main tout of tainted PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, to his ‘locked’ house in H-block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here this evening, local vigilance sleuths today raided the premises and confiscated a number of documents pertaining to details of property, both moveable and immoveable, worth lakhs, owned by him in different parts of the state.

Vigilance sources revealed that as per details found from the documents, Randhir Singh had at least six bank accounts. The details included Rs 3.69 lakh in Cooperative Central Bank, Rs 32,560 in Central Bank, Rs 60,000 in HDFC Bank, Rs 88,000 in State Bank of India, jewellery in a locker in Punjab and Sind Bank and an unknown amount in another account in Punjab and Sind Bank.

All these accounts were in Ludhiana, either in the names of Randhir Singh or of his family members. He also owned property in Thrike village, besides two cars.

The sleuths recovered some jewellery and cash from his house. They also recovered a Germany-made revolver from the house.

The raids began late this evening. The sleuths occupied the house by 8 p.m. and recorded the statements of Randhir’s wife Rajwinder Kaur and father Kirpal Singh. The team began its search of the house only after getting orders for the same by senior officials in Chandigarh.

The lockers would be opened shortly to verify the details. Ms Rajwinder Kaur said the family left the house on March 27 and returned this evening after spending days in hiding in Mehatpur, Nakodar, Paonta Sahib, Rishikesh, Ambala and Delhi.


Badal convenes SAD meeting for May 4
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Facing rough weather because of the registration of a case against a former Akali minister and apprehensive that such cases would be registered against other former ministers, the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has called a meeting of sitting and former party MLAs, MPs, presidents of the district units and other senior leaders on May 4 at his residence in Sector 2.

The problems faced by Akali activists and other issues will be discussed at the meeting. Informed sources said SAD would draw up its strategy to counter the “political witch-hunt” started by the Congress government against Akali leaders. In a statement, SAD said the campaign launched by the government was a “drama” enacted to divert the attention from the real issues faced by people of the state. The statement said it was part of the Congress culture to give and take bribes worth crores. The statement has also attacked leaders of the Panthic Morcha.

The statement said Mr Ravinder Paul Singh Sidhu was appointed by the then Congress Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, on the recommendation of a senior Congress leader in Delhi. The statement has also criticised the appointment of Justice A.S. Garg as Chairman of the commission of inquiry set up by the Congress government.


CM to be briefed on Garg controversy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will be briefed on the controversy with regard to Justice A.S. Garg, Chairman of the one-man inquiry commission set up by the state government to probe the alleged misdoings of the previous government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

A top official of the Punjab Government today said “we are awaiting the return of Capt Amarinder Singh from Delhi. He is expected here late this evening. The entire issue, including the court cases pertaining to the setting up of the commission and reports on the loan controversy related to Justice Garg, will be placed before the Chief Minister”.

Obviously, the Chief Minister, would study the matter and make up his mind what to do next, said the officer. “I would not say anything further on this issue”, he added.

The Tribune had reported on April 29 that a member of the judicial services of Haryana had submitted a communication to the Punjab and Haryana High Court stating that Justice Garg had pressurised him to get the outstanding loan in the name of his son (Justice Garg’s) waived by the Haryana Government. Justice Garg’s son had set up an industrial unit in Haryana by securing a loan from the Haryana Financial Corporation.

Meanwhile, the state government has provided one superintendent, five assistants, four clerks and other supporting staff to Justice Garg. He will also be provided with the services of either an Under Secretary or a Deputy Secretary. The government is yet to decide where the commission’s office should be set up. One proposal is to allot certain rooms on the top floor of Punjab Bhavan to the commission. The other is to allot one or two rooms in the main Punjab Civil Secretariat or in the mini secretariat. A final decision in this connection is expected to be taken soon. 

Both the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP have made it clear that they will not cooperate with the inquiry commission as it has been set up by “violating” the Punjab Lok Pal Act of 1996. 


Screen appointments, demands Bar Association
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 30
The Bar Association, Kharar, in its meeting held here today under the presidentship of Mr Anil Kaushik, has demanded that the selection of all judicial officers appointed during the past five years be screened and those who are found to be appointed not on merit should be removed.

The association passed a resolution that the power of such persons to decide cases should be withdrawn immediately. According to a copy of the resolution given to the mediapersons the members have demanded that authorities of the state and Centre should also look into the conduct of senior members of the Judiciary who have allegedly had a hand in unfair selections in the lower judiciary and appropriate action should be taken against them.

The association alleged that an attempt was being made to protect IAS officers, who had played an active part in the unfair and wrong selection of candidates in the state. They said the rules made by IAS officers to protect their position were self made and had no constitutional support. They have requested the Bar Associations of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to go through the resolution and forward it to the authorities concerned.


Favour in land deal alleged
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 30
After the multi-crore recruitment scandal, a land scandal has surfaced in this district. During the rule of the SAD-BJP government prime government properties were allotted at throwaway prices to certain favourites of those in power, in violation of rules and regulation.

Investigations by The Tribune have brought to fore a case in which Vinod Kumar Mittal, a businessman of Nangal, was allotted prime property behind the Anandpur Sahib bus stand at a throwaway price.

Vinod Kumar moved an application before the Executive Officer of the Panchayat Samiti, Anandpur Sahib, on January 10, 2000, requesting that since he had been authorised by Maruti company to start a service station there, he be allotted the about 5000 sq feet vacant land near the residence of the officer.

The Executive Officer of the samiti promptly on January 13, 2000, forwarded the request to the DDPO, Ropar. The then DDPO, Ropar, Kuldeep Singh, who has now been arrested in the case of the recruitment scandal of junior engineers, showing equal urgency, granted sanction to allot the land on January 19.

The Executive Officer wrote a letter to the Tehsildar, Anandpur Sahib, on January 24 to inquire about the cost of land. However, the land was allotted to the party on January 27 without waiting for the tehsildar’s report. The agreement with the party was signed on January 20, before the allotment of the land. The Tehsildar gave his report about the cost of land on February 2, about a month after the land had been allotted.

The Tehsildar reported to the Executive Officer that the cost of said land was Rs 10,000 per marla. However, some shops developed by ASUDA in the proximity of land were valued at over Rs 10 lakh per 100 sq. feet. On the basis of the report of Tehsildar the rent of the 5000-sq feet prime land was fixed just at Rs 1,725 per month.

The PWD authorities, on the condition of anonymity, told this correspondent that a shop developed by ASUDA just near the allotted land had been rented for Rs 15,000 per month, whereas such prime property was rented for just Rs 1725 per month.


Octroi posts start functioning
Traders oppose verdict, MCs rejoice
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, April 30
All 10 octroi posts of the local Nagar Council have started functioning after seven months following yesterday’s verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing the abolition of octroi.

Five posts began functioning yesterday itself and the remaining today, disclosed Mr Pawan Gupta, EO of the council. “ I have been doing intensive checking myself since last night. But we have not started imposing any fine or penalty as many people do not yet know about the restoration of octroi,” said Mr Gupta.

There are 43 octroi employees in the local municipality. The daily revenue of the Council from octroi had been between Rs 1.35 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh.

Meanwhile, the quashing of octroi abolition evoked a mix response in this industrial hub of the Doaba region. While the business community, particularly exporters, have not taken to it kindly, the common men and municipal employees have hailed the judgement. Contractors distributed laddoos over the ruling as they felt that with the restoration of octroi, their blocked payments will now be cleared.

Ms Surjit Kaur, district general secretary of the municipal employees union, welcomed the judgement as being pro-employee and pro-people. The octroi employee, idling away all these months, were at their work with a renewed vigour when this correspondent visited the octroi posts on the Phagwara-Jalandhar-Ludhiana Hoshiarpur-Banga-Nakodar roads today.

HOSHIARPUR: There has been a mixed response over the reimposition of octroi in Punjab.

Mr Jaswant Singh Saini general secretary, Punjab Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangathan, welcomed the decision of the high court for quashing the Acts abolishing octroi. He said that with the reimposition of octroi, the municipal employees would benefit. The development activities which had come to a standstill would be started now.

Mr Hans Raj Nakra, president, district unit of the BJP, criticised state government and alleged that it had failed to properly presenting its case before the court and defend octroi, abolition. He said that abolishing of octroi was a part of promise made by SAD-BJP in their election manifesto of 1997. Instead of creating an alternative source of income in lieu of octroi, the Congress government had failed to maintain the decision of SAD-BJP government despite its promise in election manifesto of 2002, that it would not reimpose octroi in the state.

NAWANSHAHR: The imposition of octroi again in the state has evoked a mixed response here. While the municipal employees and councillors here are cheerful, traders are apprehensive about harassment again at the hand of private contractors as the government may hand over the posts to private contractors again.

Mr Major Singh, president of the local Municipal Subordinate Employees Union, thanked the government for immediately implementing the high court’s decision.

Now, the councils could give salaries to its employees and undertake development activities, he felt.

However, Mr Rajnish Jain, president, Nawanshahr Mandi Merchants Association, criticised the government for not properly presenting its case in the court. He said the government should have opted for some other alternative to generate revenue as the traders would have to face harassment again.

AMRITSAR: The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has criticised there imposition of octroi in the state, terming it as the most obnoxious tax by the government.

Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president of the mandal, in a press note reminded the CM that according to the Congress election manifesto, octroi was to be abolished forever, but the promise has only remained on paper.


Octroi: traders want CM to file appeal in SC
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
A meeting of traders and industrialists, held under the presidentship of Mr Sumer Garg, a factory owner, at Sunam today urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court with regard to abolition of octroi to watch the interests of the trader community.

Mr Sumer Garg said the abolition of octroi by the Badal government was a good step in favour of the traders and industrialists of the state as they got rid of harassment at the hands of octroi staff at octroi posts. He said with the opening of octroi posts traffic jams on main roads would be a common site now. Sometimes the octroi staff had also been found charging excess money from traders in the past years, he alleged.

He said the traders at the meeting were of the view that keeping in view the problems of the trader community, the Congress government should take steps to watch the interests of the businessmen and industrialists.

He said the meeting suggested the Punjab Government to take other measures to collect revenue in place of reimposition of octroi in the state. Mr Garg said the traders expressed hope that the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh would certainly take steps to save businessmen and industrialists from the “curse” of octroi.


Ahluwalia’s offer to resign rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Controversy over the removal of Punjabi University’s former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia continues, with the Punjab Government refusing to accept his offer to submit his resignation. Mr Ahluwalia’s counsel on Monday had stated at the Bar that the former VC was not willing to serve on the post and would submit his resignation without going into the merits of the controversy if the orders removing him from service were withdrawn by the government.

Today, Punjab’s Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh, after appearing the court, asserted that the state government, besides other respondents, were not inclined to accept the offer. After recording his statement, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, issued notice of motion to the Chancellor and other respondents. The Judges also granted the Advocate-General six weeks’ time for filing written statements on behalf of the Chancellor and other respondents. The case will now come up for further hearing on July 22.

In a petition filed before the High Court, Punjabi University’s former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia had earlier sought directions for quashing an order passed on April 21 removing him from the post.

Mr Ahluwalia had also sought directions to the university Chancellor and other respondents to permit him to discharge his duties as the Vice-Chancellor till the expiry of his tenure on May 14. He had added that the intention behind passing the order was to harass and humiliate him, besides having the satisfaction of throwing him out.


Inquiry into purchase of JCB machines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has registered an enquiry into the purchase of 103 JCB machines by the Department of Rural Development earlier this year, the Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Mr A.P. Pandey, told newsmen here this evening.

Mr Pandey said a complaint had been received by the Vigilance Bureau alleging “kickbacks” in the purchase. Each of the machine costs Rs 15-16 lakh.

The vigilance Bureau is already investigating a recruitment scam in the Department of Rural Development where normal persons were recruited as Junior Engineers against the posts meant for handicapped persons. A Chief Engineer and a District Development and Panchayat Officer have already been arrested in the case.

Mr Pandey clarified that no raid had been conducted on the houses of any former Punjab ministers.

He further said that the Vigilance Bureau was also investigating the recruitment of 138 clerks in the Punjab School Education Board in January this year.


Amarinder for change in J&K policy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
A week short of being relieved from the Kashmir valley to go to Lucknow, local lad Major Tejinder Singh Sohal fell to militant bullets during an anti-militancy operation in the valley yesterday prompting the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today to call for a change in the country’s policy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Major Tejinder’s parents and his wife Vimmy, whom he married in November last year only, did not expect him to arrive home in a casket after a two-and-a-half-year stint in the valley.

The Chief Minister moved by the tragedy, said deaths of young officers and men on internal security duty was very unfortunate and something should be done to change the country’s policy on the issue. He said there were reports of such deaths in papers everyday adding that such a state of affairs could be explainable only during war time.

The Chief Minister, who flew in from Delhi to attend the cremation of the Major, also announced that the government would provide a PCS (Executive) job for his wife, besides announcing that she would be given an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh to construct a house. He said other assistance would also be provided to the family.

There were poignant scenes at the Goodearth residence of the Sohal’s today with the women members of the family weeping uncontrollably on the death of 30-year-old Major, even as many of the men maintained a stoic silence. Shortly after the body of the Major arrived at the house, it was taken out of the casket so that the family could have a last look at it following which a “path” was conducted at the house.

Armymen accompanying the Major’s body disclosed that he had been shot dead during an operation to flush out militants from Banderpore village. They said five to six militants had taken refuge in the village and that four columns of the Army surrounded them in the early hours of the morning yesterday. They said following this a 20-minute gun fight ensued during which the Major and another jawan were killed. Two militants were also killed in the operation, they said.

Unit officers disclosed that the Major had a zeal to do well for his country. They said Major Sohal had also been awarded the Sena Medal for bravery shown during an operation in 2000.

The cremation of the Major was conducted at the Badungar cremation ground. Major’s father Col (retd) Pritam Singh Sohal lit the pyre. Others present on the occasion included his mother Lakhwinder Kaur Sohal who is a schoolteacher, brother Jetenderpal Singh Sohal and sister Rupinder Kaur Malhi. Among others who laid wreaths on the occasion were Finance Minister Lal Singh, Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh, Col B.S. Budhrain on behalf of the First Armoured Division, Brig C.S. Harika, Col R. Rajpal, Col D.S. Dhaliwal, Col S.K Meht and Col B.S. Mann.


Decks cleared for MC elections in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
In less than a month before elections to Municipal Corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala are scheduled to be held, the decks were today cleared with a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing a petition filed by four Amritsar-based members of the District Akali Jatha seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to prepare fresh list of voters for each ward.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Mr Lakhbir Singh Sehmee and others had also sought directions for dividing the wards as per Section 8 of the Municipal Corporation Act dealing with the delimitation of wards.

They had contended that the list was prepared in 1996 and since then a lot of changes had taken place. The names of thousands of voters did not figure in the list. This was not all. A large number of voters had even expired since then, they had argued.

Punjab’s Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh, appearing on behalf of the state, on the other hand, had contended that it was essential to hold the elections on May 19. Giving details, he had added that the municipalities, as per the provisions of Constitution of India, could continue for five years from the date of its first meeting and no longer. As such it was essential to hold the election on schedule, he had submitted. It was also argued that the process of electoral roll revision had already started and its final publication was expected by the end of this month.

Pre-arrest bail

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notice of motion on two anticipatory bail petitions filed by an MLA, besides a former minister. The court also fixed May 5 as the next date of hearing on a third petition filed by another former minister.

Taking up a petition filed by MLA Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, seeking the grant of anticipatory bail or else 15 days’ notice in case a first information report was registered against him, Mr Justice Nirmal Singh issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab.

The MLA was apprehending implication in an alleged corruption case registered against the director and the managing director of a cooperative bank. In his petition, the MLA stated that he had either been or would be implicated in the case. He added that the government had adopted a revengeful attitude towards the opponents and members of the Akali Dal in order to arrest them in false cases.

On another petition filed by former minister Sucha Singh Langah seeking pre-arrest bail in any FIR registered against him or 15 days’ notice in case a FIR was registered, Mr Justice R.C. Kathuria issued notice of motion to the respondents for May 13.

He also claimed that the government wanted to implicate opponents in false cases. The Chief Minister, he added, had even declared that the Akalis would be taught a lesson. His counsel added that some police officials had visited his residence in his absence and as such he apprehended his implication. The third petition was filed by former minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon on the same grounds.

MLAs’ plea

Taking up a petition filed by Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Bibi Jagir Kaur and eight other MLAs challenging a notification issued by the Punjab Government, appointing a one-member commission for looking into the allegations of “irregularities, illegalities, corruption and other misdoings” of the previous government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a Division Bench of the High Court on Tuesday issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab for May 15.

The Bench, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, however, showed no inclination to issue notice to Justice A.S. Garg, who was heading the commission. In their petition, the MLAs had earlier stated that the impugned notification was a result of the Chief Minister’s desire of teaching the Akalis a lesson. They had added that Justice Garg was closely related to Punjab’s Advocate-General.


Panchayat poll may be in 2 phases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Elections to panchayats, block samitis and zila parishads are likely to be held in two phases on June 6 and 8.

An indication in this connection was given today by a top government officer. These were the tentative dates discussed at the top level, he added. However, no intimation has been sent officially to the State Election Commission.

The government has already announced that there will be direct elections to these bodies.


World Bank representative visits hospital
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
A World Bank representative, Ms Preeti Kudeshi, visited the local Civil Hospital today. Office-bearers of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) and the Health Services Department accompanied her.

The hospital authorities said it was a routine visit as being undertaken at various hospitals of the state. The authorities said the city being one of the prominent centre as far as health facilities were concerned, so the World Bank representative paid a visit here.

However, sources said the team had come to see whether the amount given by the World Bank for running the hospitals to the PHSC was properly utilised or not. The team inspected various departments in the hospital.

Ms Kudeshi also interacted with the patients and enquired about the facilities being provided at the hospital. She paid special attention to the cleanliness of the hospital premises and various wards.

Dr P. N. Maini, Civil Surgeon, said Ms Kudeshi was satisfied with the performance of the staff in the hospital. He said she did not find anything wrong with the hospital. He said the hospital authorities had asked the visiting team to make arrangements for providing facilities like installation of TMT and Laproscopy machines at the hospital.

They demanded that a post of physiotherapist be created at the hospital. Dr Maini said the officials told them that suitable arrangements would be made in that direction.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, who was present on the occasion said the municipal council authorities had been asked to provide dustbins in the hospital premises. He said the boundary of the hospital premises damaged at some places would be repaired and nobody would be allowed to use the compound of the hospital as thoroughfare.

Those in the team included Ms Kusumjeet Sidhu, MD, PHSC, Dr D. S. Virk, Director, Dr H. V. Jindal, Dr Manveer Singh, Dr Mahajan, Dr Usha Aditya, Dr Rupinder Walia and Dr Maninder Kaur, all Deputy Directors of the Health Services Department.


No-confidence motion against MC chief
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 30
Sirhind is facing a drinking water problem from the past one week due to a fault in the main tubewell no 1 of Municipal Council, but the councillors are busy in lobbying in trying to dethrone the president of the council. They have submitted a no confidence motion against him.

But various social organisations had resented submitting the no confidence motion, which had been signed by 21 councillors and submitted to the Executive Officer (EO) today. The organisations had also appealed to the councillors to perform their duty and make available the basic amenities to the residents.

According to information available, the water motor of tubewell no 1 had been out of order from the past one week. The tubewell operator appointed there said that he had been repeatedly telling the EO and other council officials about the fault but to no avail. Sources said that the council had not cleared the earlier repair bills of the tubewell so no mechanic was coming forward for the repair of tubewell. The residents alleged that the councillors and even some officials were busy these days lobbying to remove the council president, who had done excellent development work in the town. But since the president belonged to the SAD-BJP alliance the councillors were trying to remove him. They had no interest whether the people got drinking water, proper light and sanitation facilities.

Efforts had started in the town to woo the Independent councillors so they that voted against the President.

Certain councillors said that since Dr Harbans Lal, MLA from Sirhind, had become Minister, the councillors belonging to his group, had started pressurising them to remove the President as he belonged to SAD-BJP. Though Congress had only eight councillors in 30-member council, yet the Minister had started wooing the other Independent councillors, who had been changing loyalties from time to time. Some Congress councillors said that presently those councillors, who were front-runners in the race, had betrayed Dr Harbans Lal during the Akali regime and joined the SAD. But now again with the change of power they again came to the Congress-fold just for their own benefit.

Meanwhile hectic political activity was on in the town. The minister was taking personal interest and was calling all councillors to vote against the President. Sources claimed that promises of prize posts as well as huge sums of money were also being offered to the Independent councillors. The group of President had also become active and President said that he was ready to face the motion but the councilor should vote according to their conscience as he had done remarkable development work in the town.

When contacted the EO, Sirhind, he said that he had received a no confidence motion signed by 21 members against the President and it was up to the president to decide the date for meeting. 


Mann to send jatha to Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 30
Shiromani Akali Dal (A) headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann will send a jatha to Pakistan in June on the Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev, according to Mr Jaskaran Singh, party’s general secretary, here today.

We have written to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister and External Affairs Minister to grant permission to the party for taking the jatha, he said.

If Amarnath yatra could be allowed under the army protection despite threats and Haj pilgrimage were being sponsored by the government, then why was a Sikh jatha being banned under the pretext of tension on Indo-Pak border, he further asked.


Anticipatory bail for MLA, son

Moga, April 30
Moga Additional District and Sessions Judge J.S. Chawla has granted anticipatory bail to Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, his son Jagtar Singh and then Station House Officer of Baghapurana police station in the infamous Rajyana girls’ stripping case.

But the judge yesterday refused to grant anticipatory bail to the fourth accused, ASI Gurmail Singh.

Last week, all accused had applied for an anticipatory bail, but the court stayed their arrest till April 29.

Acting on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Baghapurana police in Moga district on April 16 registered a case against the four accused under Sections 323, 452, 342, 504, 509 and 120-B of the IPC for assaulting and outraging the modesty of two girls.

On August 16, 2000, a police party led by ASI Gurmail Singh raided the house of Mr Jarnail Singh at Rajyana village in his absence. Both his daughters were stripped in the presence of villagers. Later, Mr Jarnail Singh alleged that the police had acted at the behest of Mr Sadhu Singh and his son as he had some property dispute with them. UNI


No announcement on new Jathedar
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, April 30
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, did not make any announcement regarding installing Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh as Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib here today.

Mr Badungar was expected to make an announcement in this regard here today. But he said the decision for appointing the Jathedar would be taken by the SGPC executive.


Dharna by advocates

Moga, April 30
To protest against the police for not registering a case against two police officials who allegedly manhandled an advocate and member of the Bar Association on April 16, Moga advocates today staged a sit-in and took out a rally.

The advocates have been demanding action against the errant officials who manhandled the advocate when he was involved in a scuffle with an employee of a public calling office (PCO).

The Bar Association at its emergency meeting today decided to continue their dharna till Friday to pressurise the police to register a case against the errant officials.

The association will decide its further course of action on Saturday. UNI


Two killed in mishap 
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 30
Two occupants of a tractor-trailer were killed as the vehicle in which they were travelling overturned while negotiating a turn to the Killianwali-Panjkosi link road last night.

Sources said more than 12 persons were being taken to fields after the sunset for threshing of wheat in the tractor-trailer.

As the vehicle tried to negotiate a turn on the junction of the link road, it overturned. All passengers fell under the trailer. The villagers rescue them, but Gabbar Singh and Raj Singh were found dead. One occupant received minor injuries. 


Two killed as tankers collide
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 30
Two persons were killed when two chemical-laden tankers moving one behind the other collided near the Shambhu check-point, seven km from here, late last night. The collision occurred when the tanker ahead applied brakes suddenly.

Sources said both tankers caught fire. The driver and cleaner of the second tanker sustained severe burn injuries and died on the spot. The deceased have been identified as Vijay Singh and Maan Singh.


Follow path of Mahavira’
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 30
Dr Shiv Muni, Jain Acharya and chief of Sathanakwasi Shwetamber Jain sect, has appealed to the people to follow the path shown by Lord Mahavira in order to avoid sufferings.

He was addressing a religious congregation at the Jain Sathanak here today. He was here in connection with his first visit to his home state after becoming aacharya of the sect.

He was accorded a warm welcome on his arrival here.

Dr Shiv Muni appealed to everyone to follow the teachings of Lord Mahavira and to become tension-free as an innocent child.


MC staff create furore in House
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 30
Pandemonium prevailed at the meeting of the local Municipal Council last evening as the employes chose to play the role of opposition. They demanded that a fresh probe by the Vigilance be ordered into the construction of a posh house by the president of the council. As the councillors assembled, after a gap of two months, in the municipal Town Hall to take up agenda, scores of employees occupying seats in the Visitors’ Gallery stood up. One of them waived the copy of a daily newspaper carrying allegations against the civic president. The employees alleged that the president had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. They alleged a nexus between the president and contractors and said this had financially ruined the council.

The president was shouted down when he tried to explain that the Vigilance team had exonerated him last year. Some councillors from the Congress and BSP joined the employees in rejecting the investigation by the Vigilance team, alleging that the team was “influenced” as the president belonged to the then SAD-BJP ruling alliance.

As slogan-shouting continued, the president and some councillors left the Town Hall, leaving members of the Opposition there, and held closed-door proceedings in the president’s room. The president claimed later that all items on the agenda had been passed “unanimously”.


26 pc posts of MO vacant
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
Sangrur is perhaps the only district in the state in which 26 per cent posts of Medical Officer (MO) are lying vacant. Thus, the shortage of such a large number of MOs in the district, especially in the Moonak and Tapa blocks, has been affecting the health care services for the past several months.

Besides the MOs, the posts of Assistant Civil Surgeon (ACS) and the District Tuberculosis Officer have also been lying vacant for the past more than two months. However, the work of these doctors is being looked after temporarily by other officers of the Health Department. On the one hand, the state government has brought Sangrur district under the revised national tuberculosis control programme (RNTCP) while on the other hand, it has “failed” to fill the vacant posts of the District Tuberculosis Officer even after the transfer of the regular District Tuberculosis Officer about three months ago.

According to official sources, there are 259 sanctioned posts of Medical Officer in the district. Of which nearly 70 posts of MO are lying vacant. Most of the posts of MO are vacant in the primary health centres (PHC) and subsidiary health centres (SHC) in the rural areas, especially in the Moonak and Tapa blocks.

Though the PHC at Bhawanigarh has a sanctioned post of gynaecologist, no gynaecologist is posted there. Besides, there is no lady gynaecologist in Dhuri Civil Hospital. However, the Dhuri hospital has a male gynaecologist but several women reportedly avoid getting themselves examined by a male gynaecologist. Residents are demanding the posting of a lady gynaecologist there.

It is learnt that as many as five doctors of the district are on deputation with other districts, including MLA Hostel at Chandigarh, though they are getting their salaries from the district. It is learnt that a number of doctors are performing their duties as “internal arrangement” at places other than at the stations of their posting.

Sources in the Health Department here said the vacant posts in the district should be filled immediately as this is the only district in the state where Reproductive Child Health (RCH) subproject is going on. Under the project, all 269 sub-centres, which have the post of an ANM, have been fully equipped and these sub-centres are being supervised by medical officers in their respective areas. 


Two held for drug trafficking
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 30
Dr Naresh Kumar Arora, SSP, today informed that the police in its drive against drug traffickers had arrested Amrik Singh, alias Billa, of Gunachaur and Jagir Kaur, alias Jagiro of Mukandpur, and seized 33 bags (1155) kg of poppy husk.

The police seized 28 bags (980 kg) of poppy husk from Amrik Singh, who during interrogation told the police that he along with Mohinder, alias Bagga, and driver Rupa had brought 40 bags of poppy husk from Rajasthan a few days ago. They had already sold 12 bags.

The police seized five bags (175 kg) of poppy husk from Jagir Kaur during a naka at canal bridge near Mukandpur. Mohan Lal, a son of Jagir Kaur who was driving the car on seeing the police fled away. During interrogation, Jagir Kaur said she had brought the poppy husk from Mohinder, alias Bagga of village Lakhpur.

The SSP said that during terrorism, nine cases were registered against Amrik Singh who after coming out of jail started smuggling poppy husk, opium, and smack etc. The police has registered cases against them under Sections 15/61/85 of the NDPS.


Judge’s Reader held for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested the Reader of the Civil Judge, Sangrur, on the charge of taking Rs 1 lakh from Mr Charanjit Singh of Mangwal village in Sangrur district on the pretext of getting his daughter employed as a clerk in the court of the District and Sessions Judge, Sangrur.

According to SP (Vigilance), Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, Mr Charanjit Singh approached the Sessions Judge and told him that the Reader, Suresh Kumar, had duped him of his money. The judge directed the Vigilance Bureau to register a case against the Reader. A case was registered yesterday and investigation was being carried out by DSP Jaipal Singh.

Mr Grewal also said a revenue patwari, Jai Singh, posted at Rajpura had been caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from Jagtar Singh of Nandiali village in Banur. The accused had demanded a bribe of Rs 2,000 for recording a will in the register for onward submission to the Rajpura tehsildar.


Gang of cheats busted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The police has busted a gang of cheats by arresting one of its members. The gang members used to cheat people by promising them that they would double their money.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said in a press note issued here yesterday that one of the three members of the gang Jaspal Singh, had been arrested. He said the other two members, Prabhu Deva alias Prabhu, and Amjad Ali alias Bhupi, were at large.

All of them were the residents of Surewala in Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan. They came to Punjab and worked here as ice cream sellers to dodge the police, he said.

The police got specific information about the activities of gang. The modus operandi of the gang members was that while selling ice cream they cream they looked for their prey. When they found that making false promise could befool a person they asked him to give them some money and promised that the amount would be doubled. They used to fled after getting the money.

The gang had asked Harinder Kumar, a resident of Bassian in Ludhiana district, to bring Rs 8,000 and told him that it would be doubled.

They asked Harinder to come to the local Rose Garden on April 24 to give them the money. While the “deal” was being made, the police raided the place and arrested Jaspal Singh while the other two member fled from the spot.


Arhtiya, uncle shot dead
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 30
An arhtiya (commission agent) and his paternal uncle were shot dead in broad daylight by two youths in the border town of Ajnala, about 30 km from here, today.

According to reports reaching here, the two unidentified clean-shaven youths made a vain attempt to snatch a bag full of money from the arhtiya, Ashok Kumar, in the heart of the town this afternoon. The miscreants fired three rounds from their revolver killing Ashok Kumar on the spot. The miscreants also fired at Chaman Lal, paternal uncle of Ashok Kumar, who came to save his nephew. Chaman Lal succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital. Complete bandh was observed in the town in protest against the incident.


One held, stolen computer found
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 30
The district police today arrested one person and recovered a stolen computer set. According to the police, Amardeep Singh of Bhode Samrai village, who was running a PCO in the village, complained to the Lambra police 10 days ago that a computer and other valuable items in his shop had been stolen.

The Lambra police arrested Kuldeep Singh of the same village from Adda Partapura this morning who said he alongwith Ghug of Wadala colony were involved in the theft . 


Inspector shot by son
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note said that Inspector Niranjan Singh, who was on deputation with the PSEB, was killed by his son, Guriqbal Singh.

The note said the accused shot his father with a double-barrelled in the chest. Gurjaspal Singh, another son of the deceased, lodged a complaint with the police. The deceased lived at the Lal Singh Basti area here and he had a scuffle with his son this morning. As per the FIR, it was alleged that while the deceased took out his sword, the accused took out his gun and fired two shots, killing his father. The accused is a student of LLB at the local Regional Centre of Punjabi University. He has absconded.


Farmer shot
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 30
Jagsir Singh, 37, a farmer was shot at Malookpura village in this subdivision during wee hours of Tuesday while trying to rescue his younger brother Kuldip Singh who had been attacked with sharp-edged weapons by three farmers of the same village.

Sources said there was a dispute over the sharing of canal water for irrigation. Kuldip Singh was injured as Balwant Singh, Jagtar Singh and Iqbal Singh allegedly attacked him with sharp-edged weapons. As he shouted to help, his brother Jagsir Singh rushed for his help. He was shot by one of the assailants using .12-bore rifle. He died on the spot. The assailants escaped after the incident.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC and Arms Act against the three assailants. However, no arrest has been made so far.


Doctor arrested
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, April 30
On a tip-off, the Vigilance Bureau officials arrested Dr H.S. Hayer, eye specialist at the local Government Hospital while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from Mr Kartar Singh here today.

Mr Baljinder Singh, Superintendent of Police (VB) in a press note issued here today said that the son of Mr Kartar Singh, Buta Singh was admitted to the hospital. Since April 23. The doctor had asked for a bribe of Rs 1,500 for treating Buta.


Parents resent fee hike by school
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
Parents of students studying in Teja Singh Kandhari Public school here have condemned the school management regarding the hefty hike in tuition fee, building funds and computer funds.

Acting on a memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh on March 27, a meeting was called by the district administration today at the Red Cross Bhavan to discuss the issue. However, today’s meeting, which was to be attended among others by the school management, Deputy Commissioner and parents, was boycotted by the school management leading to an impasse.

Earlier, an inquiry into the working of the school was initiated by the District Removal Grievances Officer, Ms Surinder Kaur, and the District Education Officer (Secondary). The inquiry report was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner on April 8 yet no action was taken, alleged Mr Sanjeev Walia, general secretary of the joint action committee, which is spearheading the agitation against the school management.

In a press release, Mr Walia alleged that the management was indiscriminately increasing annual fees every year without taking parents into confidence. He said a meeting was held a couple of days earlier between parents and Mr J.S Kandhari, chairman of the school, in which Mr Kandhari had said that the present principal, Ms Reetu Thakur, would be removed. However, the principal has not been removed till yet, lamented Mr Walia.

Mr Walia said parents would go on a chain fast if the management does not mend its ways within the next seven days. He said he had served an ultimatum to this effect to the school authorities.

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