Saturday, May 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM hints at action against Badal family
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today gave hints of initiating action against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his family members, for being allegedly involved in corruption during the past five years. He said, the government was collecting details and it would not be long before action against them was initiated.

Talking to reporters at the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMC), here today, Capt Amarinder Singh said, “give us some time and the results will be there before you. He was replying to a specific question regarding action his government planned to take against Mr Badal and his family.

The Chief Minister, accompanied the Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, and some cabinet colleagues, was here to see the patients injured in the MIG 21 crash in Jalandhar.

The Chief Minister said that his party had got the mandate of the people to expose and punish those involved in corruption during the previous regime. “We are moving in the right direction and a commission has already been appointed for the purpose,” he said. However, he denied that there was any political vendetta behind this.

Replying to a question regarding the fate of the PCS officers appointed during the tenure of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu as the Chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission, Capt Amarinder Singh said the matter was subjudice and he was not in a position to comment on it.” I would have loved to comment on the issue but cannot since the matter is pending in the court,” he said adding. “My opinion is no different from yours.”

The Chief Minister tried to downplay the controversy surrounding Justice A.S. Garg, who is heading the inquiry commission probe corruption during the five years of Badal regime. “How can a father be blamed for the bank default by his son,” he said.

Capt Amarinder Singh also denied the charges that his government did not defend itself properly in the case regarding abolition of octroi in the high court.

“We are examining the legal aspects of the judgement and are going to contest it. We will not mind going to the Supreme Court if need be,” he said. He asserted that his government still stood by its commitment to abolish octroi. “We are bound by the law as the court has passed strictures against us too,” he added.

Earlier, the Governor and the Chief Minister went round the hospital and distributed cheques amounting to Rs 50,000, each, to the family members of the injured. Capt Amarinder Singh said the government would bear all expenses of those injured.


Shamsher to throw light on PPSC affairs?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

ISSUANCE of non-bailable warrants for the second time in the PPSC recruitment scam against him notwithstanding, Shamsher Singh, a pharmacist with the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department, wants his leave to be extended to May 14 so that he can continue his pilgrimage.

His application for anticipatory bail was rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday.

Shamsher Singh, one of the most wanted persons in the case, has been on leave since March 30. His application for extension of leave from April 14 to May 14 had been sent back to the Dera Bassi office for not being made on prescribed proforma. Shamsher works as a pharmacist at Ramgarh Bhudda in Dera Bassi tehsil.

A Kharar court issued his non-bailable warrants for the second time earlier this week. Vigilance investigators held that Shamsher Singh, who was erroneously mentioned as a veterinary doctor, had been close to PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu.

Shamsher Singh has been evading arrest in the case. The vigilance has already arrested Jagman Singh, Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira, Prem Sagar and Paramjit Singh, alias Pamma, all suspected agents or touts of Ravi Sidhu. While the police remand of Randhir Singh, alias Dhira, was extended for four days today, Prem Sagar was remanded in judicial custody. Jagman Singh has turned an approver in the case.

Shamsher had been a signatory to the Zirakpur farmhouse deal, which Ravi Sidhu had made some years ago. The vigilance officials felt that Shamsher Singh had been functioning as one of the main touts of Ravi Sidhu.

His interrogation may throw light not only on several recruitments made by the PPSC during the past five years, but also on some more immovable properties which Sidhu may have acquired and which may not be in the notice of the Vigilance Bureau investigating the case.

Dr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Patiala, told The Tribune that Shamsher Singh had applied for leave to go on a pilgrimage from March 30 to April 14.

“The leave application, though made on plain paper, was approved as at that time there was no indication of his involvement in the recruitment scam. Another application was received on April 14 for extension of leave till May 14. Since it was made on plain paper, it was sent back to the Dera Bassi tehsil office, asking the applicant to apply on the prescribed proforma. Officially, we have no intimation about any non-bailable warrants issued against him,” Dr Sandhu said.

Sources reveal that the Department has decided to cancel his leave and initiate disciplinary action against him. He may be placed under suspension.

The Vigilance Bureau has been on the hunt of Mr G.S. Manchanda, a former banker and now allegedly into hawala business. At one stage, the Vigilance Bureau got the information that Manchanda was in New Delhi.

When the vigilance men reached there, he had slipped away as the house mentioned by the informer turned out to be that of a brother-in-law of Mr Manchanda. His wife was arrested by the vigilance team and was in judicial custody now.


Sidhu’s remand upheld
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 3
The Additional Sessions and Special Judge, Ropar, Mr A.S. Kathuria, today upheld the police remand of the PPSC Chairman, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, as legal.

Earlier, Mr Sidhu had challenged his police remand ordered by the Kharar judge before the Special Judge, Ropar. In the petition filed before the latter, the counsels of Mr Sidhu alleged that no had been remanded into police custody because of political vendetta.

They also maintained that they had filed applications for getting the police remand declared illegal, which might help them in further trial.


Police remand till May 7 for Dhira
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 3
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, today remanded Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira, “tout” of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, PPSC, Chairman, in police custody till May 7. The judge remanded another “tout” Prem Sagar in judicial custody till May 15. Both the accused were arrested by the Vigilance Department when they admitted that they had given huge amounts to Ravi Sidhu for the selections made by him.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn (Public Prosecutor) and Mr Jora Singh Brar (DSP, Vigilance) appeared in the court and pleaded for police remand of five days for both the accused. Mr Punn, while pleading for police remand for Randhir Singh Gill, said information was to be collected from him about various properties owned by him. He said the accused had three acres in Tarn Taran and two plots of 300 yards in Ludhiana. The police had yet to get more information about jewellery, lockers and other assets purchased by him, he said.

Similarly, while asking for police remand for the other accused, Prem Sagar, the Public Prosecutor said they hoped to get more information from the accused. He also produced before the judge “jimni” (police diary) which contained some information.

The defence counsel said the properties’ owned by Randhir Singh, were purchased prior to 1996, when Ravi Sidhu was appointed Chairman of the PPSC. While opposing police remand for Prem Sagar, he said no recovery was to be made from him.

The judge, while sending Randhir Singh Gill in police remand, ordered that he should be produced on May 7 at 2 pm. He ordered that he should be given medical facilities. He even allowed his counsel to meet him daily for 15 minutes between 3 pm to 4 pm while in custody.

The judge, while sending Prem Sagar in judicial custody, ordered that he should be produced before Special Judge, Ropar. He allowed that he should be given class B while in jail.


Chandersekhar is Vigilance chief
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Government has set in motion the process of strengthening its Vigilance Bureau by appointing an Inspector-General of Police, Mr Chandersekhar, as Director. Some more officers, including a Superintendent and six Deputy Superintendents of Police, are also likely to be posted in the of police bureau to tackle the increased workload. While the appointment of Mr Chandersekhar is against a post vacated by Mr A.P. Pandey on his elevation as ADGP, other appointments are to be made after creating new posts in the bureau.

The post of a Deputy Inspector-General of Police in the bureau, too, is vacant. Sources in the Home Department reveal that an officer of particular seniority to be adjusted against this position was not available. As such it may not be filled.

The bureau has at present eight Superintendents of Police of which six are posted in districts at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ferozepore and Bathinda. Then there are two special wings, including one dealing with economic offences. It has four police stations to register its cases and hold investigations.

Though the Vigilance Bureau has a low conviction rate as its investigations continue for years witnessing frequent change of investigating officers, yet it faces an acid test in the “recruitment scam”.

While the present team would continue to investigate the case registered against PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu for taking a bribe and possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, the new SP may be given the charge of a fresh case registered at Patiala to cover all appointments made by the PPSC during the tenure of Ravi Sidhu. The “recruitment scam”, the sources said, might continue for more than six months as its ramifications were widespread.

Talking to The Tribune, the ADGP-cum-Chief Director, Mr A.P. Pandey, said the bureau was on the lookout for both Shamsher Singh, a pharmacist, and G.S. Manchanda, a former banker.

Besides, the bureau was also on the look out for Pritpal Kaur, Reetinder Pal Singh Sidhu and Apinder Kaur, mother, brother and sister-in-law of Ravi Sidhu. Others to be questioned in the case include all those who introduced candidates either to the PPSC Chairman or any of his known “agents or touts”. They include Opinder Sharma, G.S. Hundal, Jasjeet Singh, H.L. Bansal and several others.

Notices have also been dispatched to all those who got the appointments made allegedly either through a “bribe” or a “sifarish”. All such persons would be questioned and those found guilty would be proceeded against as per the law of the land.

Realising the gravity and depth of the cases handled by the bureau, the Punjab Government now wants to restructure and strengthen it to make it a powerful investigation tool in handling cases of corruption, financial irregularities and other scams rocking the state government. The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has been in the news since March 25 after Ravi Sidhu landed in its net. The bureau has also initiated investigations into several other cases, including a “recruitment scam” in the Rural Development Department.

Until recently, appointments of only those officers were made to the Vigilance Bureau who had either earned the wrath of their political bosses or were to be given a “punishment posting”.


Chhina faces fresh case
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 3
The Vigilance Department is finding it difficult to decode the ‘secret diary’ of Surinderpal Singh Chhina, Managing Director, Central Cooperative Bank, who has recorded the ‘bribe’ taken for providing jobs to prospective candidates in coded words.

Following a number of affidavits by some aspiring candidates alleging that they had bribed Chhina to get jobs in the bank but did not get jobs, the Vigilance Bureau has registered a fresh case against the Managing Director.

Mr Tejinder Paul Singh Sandhu, Superintendent Police (Vigilance), said that the department had registered a fresh case under Sections 13 (1), DE 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Chhina. He said the department had sent a team to Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh) following a tip-off that Chhina had purchased huge property there too.

Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP (Vigilance) said that Chhina did not spare even his peon and took ‘bribe’ in advance for recruiting his son. Chhina is also alleged to have sent prospective candidates to Pilibhit to plough his agricultural land, Mr Sandhu said.

Meanwhile, a former Akali minister who is considered his mentor, has been on the run. In another case, the bureau has unearthed huge property in the name of Nirmal Singh Bajwa, alias Nimma, president of the District Patwar Union and confidant of a former Congress Member of Parliament.


Price of exposing corrupt
JE faces charge sheet
Chander Parkash

Bathinda, May 3
The anti-corruption drive launched by state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh suffered a major setback when the Chief Engineer (Drainage), Irrigation Department, ordered the Superintendent Engineer (SE), Sirhind Circle, Ludhiana, for preparing a charge sheet against Mr Tirath Singh Brar, Junior Engineer (JE), who exposed the irrigation scam running into crores of rupees allegedly by senior officials and the then ruling party politicians.

The Chief Engineer has asked the SE to prepare the charge sheet against Mr Brar under Section 8 of the Punishment and Appeal Rules for violating the conduct rules so that disciplinary action could be taken against him. Mr Brar had written a letter to the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for exonerating him on the basis of the fact that he exposed the irrigation scam on Chief Minister’s appeal for eradicating corruption.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that charge sheet against Mr Brar was being prepared to put pressure on him so that he is not able to furnish evidence or make statements against those officials, who are involved in the scam, during the probe which the present government plans to hold. Mr Brar exposed the irrigation scam by depositing Rs 50,000 in account number 4701 of the Plan scheme in the presence of Mr Badal when he on a visit to this city.

After the irrigation scam was exposed, the authorities concerned registered various criminal cases against five officials, including an Executive Engineer and an SDE. After remaining behind the bars for about 90 days, they came out on bail. However, the authorities concerned ‘deliberately’ did not take action against other officials and ruling politicians who were also involved in the scam.

Though crores of rupees were catch up by officials of the Irrigation Department in connivance with the then ruling party politicians, the authorities made every possible attempt to hush up the case.

The previous SAD-BJP combine government did not take action against those officials and ruling politicians, who were involved in the scam as they were not touched by any investigating agency despite the fact that about 13 MPs from Punjab, in a letter written to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, urged him to hold an independent probe into same. Even a senior minister of previous government admitted that large-scale bunglings had been made in various works of the Irrigation and Drainage Department executed by its officials.

Instead of taking action against the guilty officials, the state government punished senior civil and police officials by transferring them when they passed a resolution against a minister. The civil and police officials alleged that they passed a resolution against the minister when he misbehaved with them after not taking the registration of cases against five irrigation officials in various police stations kindly. They alleged that minister tried to hush up the irrigation scam.

The Chief Minister, when contacted, said a probe would be conducted into the multi-crore irrigation and drainage scam and those involved in the same would not be spared.

Meanwhile, a section of Congressmen of this district, who have already handed over certain documents pertaining to the irrigation scam to Capt Amarinder Singh, have urged him to conduct a thorough probe into the assets acquired by the officials, contractors and previous ruling politicians.


Another wheat scam in Markfed
Branch Manager, others face action
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, May 3
Even as the dust raised by the multi-crore scam of wheat procurement during 2001-2002 in the Guru Har Sahai branch of Markfed in Ferozepore district is yet to settle down, another scam running into lakhs of rupees in the same branch of the Asia’s biggest co-operative society has come to light.

According to details available, 2000 bags of wheat belonging to Markfed lying in Raghbir Singh open plinths (Guru Dashmesh Rice Mills) and Tara Singh plinths, Guru Har Sahai in the month of January 2002 were found short valued at more than Rs 6 lakh.

The Vigilance Bureau held an inquiry in February. Mr VK Sharma, Branch Manager, Guru Har Sahai branch of the Markfed and few of his colleauges were found guilty of tampering with the records and duping the co-operative society of more than Rs 6 lakh.

But the Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore, has so far not registered an FIR against the Branch Manager and his colleagues. It is learnt that the matter was deliberately put under the carpet.

When contacted Mrs Anita Punj, SP, Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore range, admitted that an inquiry was conducted into the matter but it could not be completed as Markfed officials did not provide the relevant record to them for over two months. But now, after receiving the record from Markfed the inquiry report had been finalised and sent to the headquarters for a nod for the registration of a criminal case against the guilty officials.

Similarly, in a departmental inquiry senior officials of Markfed had held Mr Sharma responsible for the loss of at least 15,000 bags of paddy procured during the years 1996-97 and 1997-98 worth Rs 80 lakh but no action had been taken against him.

In a complaint to the Managing Director, Markfed, an official of Markfed alleged that the Manager of the Guru Har Sahai branch had somehow been successful in foiling any bid by Markfed administration to take action against him.

It has further been alleged in the complaint “that approximately about 1.50 lakh bags of wheat which were lying under the charge of Mr VK Sharma at Guru Har Sahai branch of Markfed were virtually unfit for consumption due to mis-management, mishandling and poor maintenance of the quality of these stocks through proper and timely fumigation at regular intervals”.

The Tribune had unearthed a multi-crore scam in the procurement of wheat and paddy in a report published on April 6, 2002, from the same branch of Markfed but no action has so far been taken against the Branch Manager and the defaulting commission agents. The defaulting commission agents had changed the name of their firm and were still operating in the same grain markets.

Surprisingly, Markfed has refused to purchase wheat during the current season from the controversial grain markets. Finally, these markets were handed over to the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation for procurement.

A thorough probe into the records of the Guru Har Sahai branch of Markfed could reveal irregularities running into crores of rupees.


Honouring of Chohan stopped
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The plan to honour the controversial Sikh leader and former Deputy Speaker, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, who once was known as the ideologue of “Khalistan”, had to be shelved by the authorities concerned in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today following a telephone call from the Congress high command in Delhi.

Along with other former Deputy Speakers, Dr Chohan was to be honoured in the House by Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, as part of the Assembly’s golden jubilee celebrations. This item was listed fourth on the programme drawn up by the authorities in the Assembly.

Dr Chohan was not honoured though he had come prepared for the ceremony to the House. But along with Dr Chohan, seven other former Deputy Speakers were also not honoured. Later, after the conclusion of the celebrations, shawls and mementos were given to them by the Assembly staff.

The first to be honoured were former Chief Ministers and then distinguished parliamentarians followed by former Speakers.

Dr Chohan, clad in white clothes, was seated in the Speaker’s lobby, the most prestigious place in the House, along with former Chief Ministers and other VIPs. Many former Ministers warmly shook hands with him.

When asked why he was not honoured, Dr Chohan said: “I do not know. It is, perhaps, because of political reasons”.

Talking about his presence in the Assembly, he said he enjoyed every moment sitting in the House. “It was a wonderful experience for me as I entered the House after a gap of 33 years”. He remained a member of the House from 1967 to 1971. “ I had the chance to meet many old political friends. If the celebrations had not been held, I would not have got this chance”, he added.

Informed sources said that this morning someone from the Congress high command contacted senior leaders of the Punjab Congress to tell them not go ahead with the plan to honour Dr Chohan as it would cause political embarrassment to the party at the state and national levels. The Congress had opposed the return of Dr Chohan from London to Punjab and alleged that he had come back with the blessings of the BJP-led government at the Centre and the then SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Meanwhile, there was only a symbolic presence of MLAs belonging to the principal Opposition party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who himself did not participate in the celebrations. Nearly 15 SAD MLAs out of 42 attended the celebrations. However, a large number of former Akali MLAs were present in the House. Senior leaders of the SAD like Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Manpreet Badal did not go to the House.

Sources said that Akali MLAs had met Mr Parkash Singh Badal at his residence this morning. He deputed Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder to represent the SAD legislature party as a speaker in the House. What was said in the House by Mr Bhunder had the approval of Mr Badal. “This morning, I discussed the issue with the party President”, Mr Bhunder told TNS.


Notification of MC poll on May 6
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Formal notification for holding elections to Municipal Corporations at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala will be issued on May 6, it was officially stated here today. According to the election schedule, last date for making nominations will be May 9. The scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on May 10 and last date for the withdrawal of nominations has been fixed for May 11. Polling will be held on May 19.


Raj Babbar, son seek Guru’s blessings
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 3
Though he cannot speak chaste Punjabi, yet Mr Arya Babbar, son of famous actor parents Raj and Nadira Babbar pledged to make one Punjabi film every year without charging a single pie. The father son duo was here to seek blessings at Harmander Sahib before the release of Arya’s first movie “Ab Ke Baras” on May 10.

With both peternal and maternal families belonging to Amritsar, Arya expressed a special attachment to the city. Arya (21), acts as a revolutionary in his first film that is based on the story of reincarnation. The film has been shot in Italy, Austria, Switzerland while the ethnic flavour has been lent by locales in Rajasthan, Himachal Pardesh, and Delhi for the movie.

Giving credit of his easy entry in the film industry to his parents Arya laid special emphasis on the fact that his mother Nadira Babbar, herself a famous name in theatre, had indulged him from the age of 10 to do small roles in theatre and even as a back stage artist.

To further hone his skills in this profession, Arya said he took special dance classes from renowned choreographer Saroj Khan and Shiamak Davar.

He said his famous lineage was no doubt a plus point in his initial years but the toughest journey was to be covered by him alone. In a candid moment Arya said his best friend was his stepbrother Pratik Babbar, son of the famous yesteryears actress Smita Patil and Raj Babbar.

Arya has signed two untitled films with Ramu Ji Rao and Raj Kanwar. the holy city is home to several well-known names in the film industry superstar Rajesh Khanna, Jatinder, Ajay Devgan, Deepti Naval, Dara Singh, Mahinder Kapoor, Madan Mohan, Kavita Chaudhary and latest singing sensation Sukhwinder.

Raj Babbar accompanying his son said his daughter Juhi Babbar’s first film as a heroine would be released soon.

Meanwhile, as an official mouthpiece for the Samajwadi Party, he announced that his party would contest 10 seats in the municipal corporation elections.


Malta tragedy: guilty ‘will be’ punished
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 3
The delegation of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission led by Mr Balwant Singh Khera, returned from Europe after attending court cases, meeting with ministers, Government officials and mediapersons. Other members of the delegation were Mr Harbhajan Singh, S. Amritpal Singh and Mr Dinesh Kumar.

Mr Khera while briefing the Press here yesterday said that they had returned home with the hope that from now onwards a campaign had been launched for the retrieval of the wreckage of small ship F-174 and remains of the 290 Indians, Pakistani and Sri Lankan youth men. He said the compensation case was filed by mission lawyer Mr Ralley in the District Court of Sarkuja in the province of sicily (Italy) it was expected that the property of shipping companies involved in human trafficking would be attached.

He said the delegation members also met the Public Prosecutor Dr Campassy and offered mission’s co-operation for punishing the mass murderers.

The delegation members conferred with officials of the Italian Foreign Ministry including Mr Gudwali Pirtajaliya, Senator Tana di Juleta, Mr Mariya Vellu, special correspondent of daily news-paper La-Republic who had located and filed the wreckage of the drowned ship, skeletons and luggage of the victims. The delegation members met the Indian Ambassador in Rome Mr Sidharth Singh and discussed about the cases there.

Mr Khera said it was heartening that Parliament of the Republic of Malta condoled the death of the Malta tragedy victims. The resolution was moved by a Labour Party member, Mr Joseph Perck. He said the deliberations of their meeting was widely publicised by the news papers of Malta. The Home Minister has assured that Mr Tarab Ahmed Sheikh, chief conspirator in this case would be handed over to the Italian Government for prosecution after completing the formalities.


Four patwaris sacked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala, Mr Rakesh K. Verma, has dismissed four patwaris — Baljinderjit Singh, Sarwan Singh, Balwant Singh and Baljinder Singh — from service and has issued a show-cause notice for dismissal to Sukhjit Pal Singh.

He told TNS today that the patwaris were continuing in service even after their conviction by the court in cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, by concealing the orders of conviction on one pretext or the other. In fact, Sarwan Singh, Balwant Singh and Baljinder Singh, were convicted more than seven years ago on January 5, 1995, January 9, 1995 and February 3, 1995, respectively, while Baljinderjit Singh was convicted on November 17, 1998.

Mr Verma, on the basis of the judgement of the Supreme Court in K.S. Sareen versus CBI (criminal appeal no. 770 of 2001), held that a public servant who was convicted of corruption could not be allowed to hold public office except by impairing the morale of the other persons manning such office, and consequent erosion of already shrunk confidence of people in such public offices.

When a public servant was found guilty of corruption after an adjudicatory process conducted by a court of law, judiciousness demanded that he should be treated as corrupt until he was exonerated by a superior court. The mere fact that an appeal or revision was pending should not even temporarily absolve him from such findings, he added.

Exercising extraordinary powers under Article 311(2)(a) of the Constitution of India, read with Rule 13 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970, Mr Verma dispensed with the regular inquiry in the matter and passed the orders of dismissal.

Mr Verma proposed to take action against two more patwaris, Jaswant Singh and Sukhdarshan, who were continuing in service because of the affidavit filed by the then Deputy Commissioner in the high court that action would not be taken against them. In the light of the judgement of the Supreme Court, an application would be moved in the court for granting permission to take action against those patwaris also, he added.


Another case against Baba Bhaniara
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 3
The police has slapped another case under Section 295-A of the IPC against Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara for directing his followers to revive the activities of his cult.

The production warrants of the baba were issued by the Civil Judge, Anandpur sahib. He was produced in the Anandpur Sahib court on April 29. The judge remanded him in police custody for one day, which was further extended till today on April 30.

During the police remand, the Anandpur Sahib police claims to have recovered another controversial granth from the residence of the baba in Dhamana village.

The DSP Anandpur Sahib, Mr Varinder Paul Singh, when contacted said the granth was collected from the residence of the baba in the presence of the local Naib Tehsildar. The baba was allegedly trying to motivate his followers to revive their activities, he said.

The Civil Judge, Anandpur Sahib today sent the baba into judicial custody till May 13 in this case.


One-day remand for Kairon’s confidant
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 3
Puran Chand, a close aide of Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, relative of former Chief Minister, was granted one-day remand by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Kishore Kumar, here today.

Puran was arrested late last night in a land grab case near the Parkash Cinema Hall site. Puran was booked along with seven to eight persons on the complaint of Principal of Khalsa College for Women.

A case under Sections 448, 379, 427 and 34 IPC has been registered against him. Puran was arrested while he was supervising construction.


Recruitment rally for rural youth
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 3
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Fisheries, Sports and Youth Services Minister, Punjab, attended the Centre for Training and Employment of Punjab Youth (C-PYTE) recruitment rally at Kurali today. Speaking on the occasion, he said it was a unique organisation and provided free board and lodging facility besides Rs 400 per month to youths as stipend.

This organisation is sponsored by the Punjab Government and imparts training to the youth for joining technical training.

It is for the first time that this type of rally is being organised in Ropar district to help rural youth get jobs in the Army, PMF and central organisations.

Brig J.S. Randhawa, Director General, C-PYTE, said since its inception, 78,443 youth had been enrolled and trained under the scheme, out which 48,601 had been absorbed in the Army, para-military forces, and public/private sectors.


PWD workers’ union seeks wheat loan
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 3
The Field and Workers Union of the PWD has urged the state government to give loan for purchasing wheat to all employees on the pattern of Haryana.

Mr Hamir Singh Malli, general secretary of the district unit of the union, said in a press note issued here today that the state government had given this loan in the previous years, but this year no such move had been made so far.

He said the loan should be interest-free.

He said Haryana had given Rs 4,000 to each employee for the purpose.


Condition of Giani’s wife improving
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 3
The condition of Mrs Pradhan Kaur (85), wife of former president, the late Giani Zail Singh, is improving. She was reported to have developed an acute renal failure following pneumonia earlier this week. She is under medical observation at their native Sidhwan village, near here.

Dr Gurdeep Kaur her daughter, told TNS this evening that her mother’s condition was improving. She urinated today, which is a sign of improvement.

The Deputy Commissioner of Faridkot, Mr A Venu Prasad, visited Mrs Pradhan Kaur yesterday.


Punjabi novel released
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 3
The Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr N.S. Rattan, has said writers will be give assistance by the varsity on regular basis in order to promote contemporary Punjabi literature activity.

Speaking at a function held here today to release a Punjabi novel “Kafir Messiah” written by Inder Singh Khamosh, the VC said writers had a right to get assistance from the university and that they need not ask for the same every time.


Agencies halt wheat procurement
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 3
Out of the four government wheat procuring agencies, Punjab Agro Industries, Markfed and Punsup have suddenly stopped purchase of wheat from the grain market here. The fourth agency, FCI, alone has been left in the market. Punjab agro and PUnsup had stopped procurement about three days back. Markfed stopped all purchases yesterday.

As a result, there is glut of about 40,000 quintals of wheat in the market. According to knowledgeable sources, the FCI, the premier procuring agency, had been purchasing wheat at a relatively slow speed Hence, the administration on verbal instructions of the government had reportedly directed the state procuring agencies to withdraw from the market to force the FCI to make the remaining purchase. Mr Devinder Sachdeva, president, Kacha Arthiya Association, has demanded that the FCI should ensure brisk procurement.


Two IAS, 7 PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Government today transferred two IAS and seven PCS officers. Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu has been posted as Special Secretary, Irrigation Department, and Mr Harjit Singh has been sent to the State Election Commission as its Secretary.

Mr Surinder Kumar Sharma has been shifted to Punsup as Manager (Personnel and Administration). Mr Om Parkash Popli has been posted as DTO at Mansa and Mrs Gurpreet Kaur Sapra has been sent to Baba Bakala as SDM.

Mr Om Parkash Verma, Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh and Mr Rupinder Pal Singh have been posted as Executive Magistrates at Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Faridkot and Mansa, respectively.


Nodal agency set up to develop Patiala
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 3
To develop Patiala as a counter- magnet under the National Capital Region, the Punjab Government today constituted the Patiala Urban Planning and Development Authority. The new body, enjoying all the powers and functions of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, will be the nodal agency to undertake development of Patiala city and its adjoining areas.

The boundaries within which the development would be undertaken has also been notified.

A spokesman of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority said the National Capital Region Planning Board, Act 1985, provided development of counter-magnet areas outside the National Capital Region in order to achieve objectives of the NCR plan. The concept envisages decrease of flow of population from surrounding areas of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

With this in mind, the Punjab Government has taken the initiative to revive Patiala as an important hub of economic activity. The place known for its past history and rich culture has emerged as economic, social and institutional centre of Punjab. Now the state government has planned to raise the level of the Patiala to a centre for preservation of heritage, tourism, recreation and promotion of knowledge-based industry with the over-riding environment considerations. The government had approached the National Captial Region Board during the current financial year to get the necessary funds.

For preparing the blueprint of the project, the new authority has been constituted. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would be the chairman of the new authority. The Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Secretary, Local Government, Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Chief Town Planner and the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala were the members of the new body.


Kin of ex-Speaker found murdered
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 3
A kin of a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Surjit Singh Minhas, was reportedly murdered last night. The deceased has been identified as Harnaginder Singh Minhas (48). His body was found at a kutcha path near Khanna Khurd village and his scooter was parked nearby. Injuries by sharpedged weapons were found on his head.

An unidentified person had called at his residence on Thursday about 10.30 pm and told that the body of the deceased was lying at the Salana turn.

A police party led by the Superintendent of Police (D), Mr Gurkirpal Singh, reached the spot in the morning. A dog squad has been pressed into service.

According to preliminary investigation by the police, the deceased was murdered somewhere else and the body was thrown at the kutcha path. The police is working on various theories. The deceased was a government contractor.

A case has been registered.


ASI arrested on bribe charge

Hoshiarpur, May 3
The Jalandhar Vigilance Bureau has arrested a Punjab Police ASI on charges of taking a bribe.

A police report today said here today that ASI Balbir Singh, posted at Mahilpur police station, was arrested during a raid last night.

The raid was conducted following a complaint lodged by Prem of Bham village, who alleged that the ASI had taken Rs 3,000 to help him out in a case registered against him under Sections 123 and 324 IPC.

The ASI has been placed under suspension by the district police.


Syndics felicitate varsity on centre
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 3
The Syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University which met here today unanimously felicitated the university authorities on being selected by the university authorities on being selected by the University Grants Commission for Centre of Ecellence in Sports Sciences. The university would get a grant of Rs 30 crore for this centre, with an installment of Rs 5 crore having already been received.

The meeting was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh. The centre will be the first of its kind in India.

It will provide scientific back-up in sports sciences, on a par with the best in developed countries.

Besides training of sportspersons and providing scientific knowhow for preparing youth for sports competitions, the research labs of the centre would be equipped with muscle-testing, dope-testing, biochemistry, physiotherapy, genetics, EMG facilities.

In addition to this, the university will introduce courses like five-year integrated M.Sc. degree in sports science, master in sports biomechanics, bachelor in occupational therapy, degree in exercise physiology and various post-graduate diplomas. The university has launched its own website ( on which admission forms for all courses in the sports centres would be available.

The Vice-Chancellor announced that six students from MCA, B.Tech, computer science and B.Tech (electronics) had been selected by multi-national companies on an annual package of Rs 2 lakh each. They would join the companies next year.

The university is committed to promoting the development of Punjabi language, literature and culture. A former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral, released 10 volumes of literary criticism by Dr H.S. Soch, former Vice-Chancellor.

The Syndicate has decided to reserve five seats in all courses in its affiliated colleges for poor students. The colleges have been asked not to charge any fees from these students. The university has also decided to establish an independent school of legal studies at its Regional Centre, Jalandhar.


Front’s plea to varsity faculty
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 3
The Teachers United Front (TUF) today said it was extremely perturbed over the appearance of statements in the Press in the name of its member and a Punjabi University teacher, Dr Ravi Kiran Singh.

In a statement here, the JAC convener, Dr U.C. Singh, said since Dr Ravi Kiran Singh had publically denied having given any such statement to the police or the Press and his denial had been published in several dailies, the front condemned the interpolation of such statements.

The front appealed to the university community not be misled by such mischievous acts which it said were designed to break the unity of the front.


Students seek FIR against Principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 3
Even as the strike of teachers and students at Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College entered its 21st day today, students in a press conference today requested the Governor and Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences to terminate the officiating Principal of the college, Dr D.C. Panday, and Vice-Principal, Dr Vibhakar Sharma.

They have also sought the registration of an FIR against the accused persons.

The students blamed that the management and the authorities had been sheltering Dr Vibhakar who had been reportedly debarred by Guru Nanak Dev University for the same reasons in the past. Copies of the complaint has been given to the National Human Rights Commission, National Women Rights Commission and President of Sri Durgiana Education Foundation here.

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