Friday, May 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



I passed on Rs 12 cr to Sidhu: Dhira
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
Randhir Singh Dhira claimed today that he had acted as a conduit for passing on around Rs 12 crore to jailed PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu in an in-camera statement recorded under Section 164 in a local court.

Recording his statement behind barred doors in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Sanjiv Berri Dhira had identified a number of candidates who had paid bribes to get selected to the PCS (Executive), PCS (Judicial), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) and other posts. He has claimed that all money collected in this manner was handed over by him to Ravi Sidhu at his residence.

Dhira claimed that Sidhu, whom he knew since his days in Panjab University, had asked him at the fag end of 1997 to get candidates who could pay money to get selected in the PCS (Executive). He said following this he came in contact with Mr H. S. Bansal, who introduced many candidates to him. He said these included Deepak Gakhar, son of his colleague, Subhash Gakhar, who paid Rs 65 lakh and two brothers, Jeewan Garg, and Kamal Kumar Garg who paid Rs 60 and Rs 50 lakh, respectively.

He said others who had been selected to the PCS (Executive) by paying bribes were Ranjit Singh, who was introduced by G. S. Hundal and paid Rs 42 lakh; Sukhmahinder Singh Brar through Mr B.I.S. Sharma, who paid Rs 40 lakh; Kuljeet Kaur, daughter of former Ferozepore SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, who paid Rs 70 lakh and was introduced by another tout Prem Sagar, who is also an accused in the case.

The sources said among the others named by Dhira were Bharat Bhushan, who was introduced to him by a colleague, Bhupindernath Sharma, and paid Rs 45 lakh to get into the PCS, Maninder Singh who was introduced by Sukhmahainder Singh Brar and paid Rs 40 lakh to get into the PCS (Judicial), Ramsharan, Rajinder and Preetinder who paid Rs 35 lakh to get into the PCS (Judicial), Monica, who came through Prem Sagar and paid Rs 33 lakh for PCS (Judicial), Navdeep Singh and Mandeep Kaur who were introduced by another accused, Paramjit Singh Pamma, and paid Rs 25 lakh each to get into the PCS (Judicial).

Government servants who paid to be nominated to the PCS, according to the sources, are Tehsildars P. S. Sodhi and Bhupinderjit Singh, who paid Rs 15 lakh each through Pamma, Inderpreet Kahlon, who paid Rs 30 lakh, and Balraj Kaur and her husband, who paid Rs 26 lakh. Tehsildar Gurdev Singh, who paid Rs 25 lakh, ETO O. P. Verma who paid Rs 35 lakh through a colleague, Upindernath Sharma, DDPO Baljit Singh, who paid Rs 20 lakh and was recommended by Prem Sagar, DDPO Jaspal Singh, who paid Rs 20 lakh, Excise Inspector Brar, who paid Rs 32 lakh, and a few others whose names he did not remember but could identify their go-betweens who paid to get nominated to the PCS (Executive).

Disclosing the names of candidates who had paid to get selected as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSPs), the sources said Dhira claimed former Ferozepore SSP G. S. Pherurai had paid Rs 2.80 crore to get his son selected as a DSP through Prem Sagar, He said another candidate Naresh Kumar, who was recommended by Sagar, paid Rs 1 crore, while Mittal, a resident of Moga, had paid Rs 95 lakh for the same. He said others included Gurvir Singh, who also came through Sagar and paid Rs 60 lakh.

The BDPO’s who were elevated include Daljit Singh, who paid Rs 45 lakh, Harpreet Singh who paid Rs 35 lakh and another candidate whose name he could not remember but could disclose the go-between. The sources said Dhira also disclosed names of some candidates who had paid Rs 4-6 lakh to get selected as lecturers.


Order on Sidhu’s plea reserved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Reserving orders on a writ petition filed by Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu against “selective disclosure” to the media, besides another petition filed a social organisation seeking “transparent investigation” in the matter, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today once again asked Punjab’s Advocate-General to ensure that a complete list giving information regarding the “links” of the candidates, along with the details of their academic performance, was placed before the Court on Monday.

Issuing the directions, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Bakhshish Kaur, observed that the government had enough manpower to accomplish the task of gathering information regarding the links of about 3,500 candidates.

Sidhu, it may be recalled, in his petition had earlier sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to hold an independent inquiry into the unauthorised, premature and selective disclosure to the media regarding the material collected by the investigating agency. He had also sought directions to the respondents to initiate proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act, besides under the other provisions of rules, against Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance), Mr A.P. Pandey, and other police officials.

Giving details, he has added that the case registered against him on March 25 at SAS Nagar was false and that the investigating agency had adopted a highly prejudicial attitude against him. Taking up his petition, a single Judge of the High Court had ruled: “It is in the interest of fair and impartial investigation, besides trial, that the respondents are completely prohibited from disclosing the contents of the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or the contents of the statements and confessions, if any, recorded under Section 172 of the Code”.

Common Cause Forum — a social organisation — had, on the other hand, sought directions to the respondents for holding the investigation of the case relating to Sidhu in a “transparent manner”. The Forum had also demanded that the progress of the investigation must be made public from time to time to inspire confidence. Counsel for the petitioner had added that the forum had moved several applications before the investigating agency for the supply of two FIRs, besides other information relating to the investigation of the case including the details of the persons arrested till date. He had added that no orders were, however, passed.

Sidhu was initially booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act after conducting raids at his residence in Sector 39 in Chandigarh. Two other cases under the Arms Act and the Excise Act were, subsequently, registered by the Chandigarh Police.

Notice issued to Punjab

Acting on a petition filed by lecturers working with private colleges claiming that tuition work could not be completely banned, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab for May 28.

The Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, also directed that the written statement in the matter, if any, should be filed within 10 days. In their petition, Dr Ashwani Kumar and others had earlier contended that private tuition work could not be completely banned in view of the specific statutory provisions in the calendars of Panjab, Punjabi and Guru Nanak Dev Universities. Otherwise also, private colleges were organising crash courses for PET, CET and CBSE examinations.

Bail cancelled

Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the High Court on Thursday cancelled bail granted to two Batala-based doctors, accused of causing the death of a patient due to negligence. The Judge also asked the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Gurdaspur to issue non-bailable warrants of arrest of the two.

The two were granted anticipatory bail by Gurdaspur’s Additional Sessions Judge. According to the prosecution, Gurdaspur district resident Lakhbir Kaur had taken her husband to the hospital as he was suffering from abdominal pain where he died after a few days. The complainant had claimed that one of the doctors was not possessing a degree. 


Badal must face the truth: CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Punjab unit of the CPI and the Panthic Vichar Manch, have in separate statements expressed surprise over the stance of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, regarding letters written by him to the Prime Minister pleading for Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu’s appointment as a member of the Union Public Service Commission.

The secretary of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said recently Mr Badal had stated that he knew nothing about Sidhu, who he had asserted was appointed by a Congress Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar. Now the cat was out of the bag and the explanation reportedly given by Mr Badal that it was routine in the CM’s office to sign several letters without going through their contents would not convince anybody.

Dr Dayal said that not only had Mr Badal pushed Sidhu’s case by writing letters but was also in touch with the PM in this connection from time to time on the telephone. The most shocking aspect was that Mr Badal found only Sidhu suitable for the job in the UPSC. No other person of integrity and academic excellence from the state was available to be recommended for the appointment. Urging Mr Badal to apologise for his act, Dr Dayal said the former Chief Minister should face the truth.

The manch said that it was deeply concerned over the recent disclosures made by the Chief Minister with regard to his predecessor.


Bansal, 7 other officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Mr Harbans Lal Bansal, whose name figures prominently in the PPSC recruitment scandal, is among 5 PCS and three IAS officers, whose transfer and fresh posting orders were issued by the Punjab Government late this evening.

Mr Bansal now goes to Mansa as Executive Magistrate. He was earlier Deputy Secretary, Welfare SCs and BCs.

Mr V.N. Ojha becomes Principal Secretary, Coordination. Mr Jagbir Singh Kesar becomes Principal Secretary, Planning and Advisory Councils and Special Economic Package. Dr Swaran Singh will be Managing Director, Sugarfed.

Mr Trilok Nath Passey will be the new SDM of Bholath while Mr Jaskiran Singh goes as SDM, Khadoor Sahib. Mr Gurpreet Singh Khera has been named as AC (Grievances), Gurdaspur. Mr Jarnail Singh will be Deputy Secretary, Welfare of SCs and BCs.


Venkatratnam’s arrest further stayed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 16
Directing R. Venkatratnam, IAS officer and former Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, who has been accused in the junior engineer recruitment scam of the department, to join the investigations, Mr Maghar Khan, Sessions Judge, today further stayed the arrest of R. Venkatratnam till May 20.

Earlier, his interim anticipatory bail was extended by the court on May 11 till today. 


PO enjoyed VIP facilities during Akali rule
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Moga, May 16
Even as the former chief minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has been alleging that the Congress government is harassing SAD workers on flimsy grounds, Nirdhak Singh Brar, senior functionary of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) who was declared proclaimed offender (PO) by court, had enjoyed “VIP” facilities during the previous SAD-BJP government in the state.

Nirdhak Singh, a confidant of Mr Badal, who was declared PO in 1990 following a case registered against him under Section 458 of the IPC on April 2, 1984 on a complaint of Mr S.S. Chohan, Principal, Government Guru Nanak College, Rode, in Bagapurana police station, was never arrested by the police. Instead, the “blue-eyed” youth leader was given two gunmen by the authorities on June 22, 2000, when the SAD leadership tried to revamp the state-level YAD unit.

Nirdhak Singh Brar was arrested by the district police only recently.

Sources said since 1984, 12 criminal cases were registered against Nirdhak Singh Brar, who was in the race for an important post in the YAD unit. Of the 12 cases, he was facing trial in two at present.

Sources added that a case on March 22, 1984 was registered against him under Sections 9 and 10 of the Unlawful Activities Act and it was withdrawn during the Barnala government on August 12, 1985. Another case under Sections 427, 457, 436 and 380 was registered against him. He was acquitted in this case.

A case under Sections 458 and 34 of IPC had also been registered at Bagapurana police station on April 2, 1984, and he was later declared proclaimed offender (PO) by court.

He was arrested recently in the same case. On August 25, 1984, he was booked under Section 392 of the IPC and acquitted in the same in 1986.

In 1997, a case was registered against him under Sections 341, 323 and 34 of the IPC and facing trial in the same. In 1998, he faced another criminal case on the complaint of Mr Malkeet Singh, Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies. The police had filed a cancellation report of this case in the court.

On March 26, 1984, a case under Sections 188 and 342 of IPC was registered against Nirdhak Singh and he was discharged from the same on March 22, 1984, another case under Sections 158, 342 and 506 of the IPC was registered against him and he was again discharged from the same case.

On April 2, 1984, Nirdhak Singh Brar faced another criminal case under Sections 457, 380 and 436 of the IPC and he was acquitted by the court in 1985. On April 4, 1984, a case under Sections 9, 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities Act was registered against him and it was subsequently withdrawn by the government in 1985. In another case registered under Section 188 of IPC in 1984, the court again acquitted him.

He was shown untraced in a case registered against him under Sections 436 and 427 of the IPC on April 15, 1984, at GRP police station.

PTI adds: Meanwhile, Brar, who was arrested on May 13 and sent in judicial custody till May 28, moved his bail application in a local court. The court of Mr K.K. Bansal, Judicial Magistrate (Class I), heard the arguments and reserved judgement for May 18.

Brar, who was proclaimed offender in a case registered against him on the complaint of the Principal of a government college of Rode for alleged theft of university exam papers and answersheets was enlarged on bail, but later he failed to turn up in the court after the middle of 1985 and the court declared him proclaimed offender.

Brar alleged that he was arrested at the instance of the ruling Congress. PTI


Cop booked for disorderly conduct
Attempt to attack Badal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 16
Even as the police is trying to play down the bid to attack former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal by a police constable with his knife during a poll rally here last night, the incident has virtually exposed the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.

Interestingly, Mr Badal had expressed concern over the increasing crime rate in the city while addressing a public rally in the grain market yesterday just hours before an alleged attempt was made on his life by a constable around 9.30 p.m. during a rally in Preet Nagar.

The attempt was, however, aborted by alert NSG commandos who overpowered him when he could attack the former Chief Minister. The attacker was later identified as constable Madandip Singh of the PAP. He was later taken to the police division No. 4.

The incident assumes significance as Mr Badal had criticised the Jalandhar police over the deteriorating law and order situation in the city in the morning and had dubbed Jalandhar as a haven for criminals. He had also said that criminals were roaming about freely in the city.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the constable was close to the family of former Punjab minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and had no criminal background. He said he did not recollect the alleged attempt as he had consumed two bottles of beer to “celebrate” his promotion which was going to be effected shortly. But this theory does not seem to hold much water in view of the eyewitness accounts, even as the district police claimed that it was a small knife, used for peeling of vegetables. Interestingly, the district police said since Mandip Singh had acted in a “disorderly” manner, he had been booked on charges of disorderly conduct and hooliganism under Sections 160, 34 IPC, even as sources said this was done as a part of the “damage-control exercise initiated late in the night just after the incident. 


CM’s statement on VC’s appointment hailed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 16
Almost all teachers’ bodies of Punjabi University today welcomed the statement of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, pertaining to the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the university. The Chief Minister, in a statement yesterday, had assured that a three-member search committee would be formulated to shortlist the names of potential candidates of high academic reputation for the highest post in the varsity and no political considerations would play any part in the selection procedure.

The secretary of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), Dr N.S. Atri, stressed that the old practice of appointing the Vice-Chancellor on the basis of political contacts had resulted in deterioration of universities as the appointee was more inclined to please his political masters rather than pay attention to the uplift of the institution he was heading.

The convener of the Teachers United Front (TUF), Prof Bhupinder Singh Khaira, said this was for the first time that any Chief Minister of the state had assured that merit and not political contacts would be the criteria for the post of the Vice-Chancellor.

Meanwhile, TUF, at an emergency meeting held today, condemned the press statement of the former Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, that he felt a threat from the varsity faculty opposed to him. Denying the allegation of Dr Ahluwalia that some teachers “pounced” upon him on May 10 and he had to run inside the IG’s office to seek protection, Mr Khaira said the former VC had made similar statements last year that he would be harmed during PUTA elections.


ISI planning trouble in Punjab
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Fazilka, May 16
Following an attempt by six Indian nationals to blow up Lashkar-e-Toiba’s headquarters at Muridke, 30 km from Lahore in the last week of April, this year the ISI of Pakistan has made fresh plans to revive their activities in Punjab and Rajasthan.

It is worth mentioning that 10 days after a news item was published on terrorists training centres, an attempt was made by six Indians to blow up the training centre but they were arrested just outside the training school known as Markaz-e-Toiba by the Lahore police. They were later handed over to the ISI.

Revealing this to the TNS here today intelligence sources said an attempt by 10 Pakistani nationals to enter the Indian side of the border equipped with heavy arms early on Monday in this sector is seen as a counter-attempt in reaction to the Muridke arrests. During the interrogations six Indians under the custody of ISI clearly revealed their intentions to blow up the training centre.

Intelligence agencies feel that the 10 persons were on a special mission to target military stations in Punjab and Rajasthan, apart from planning explosions at public places.

However, on the other hand the ISI has charged Indian agency RAW of designing terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Media reports in Pakistani newspapers quoting the Muridke arrests say that the six Indians arrested were agents of RAW.

Sources in the intelligence say that the Fazilka sector has become the gateway of intruders from both sides. The six Indians arrested at Muridke were also said to have crossed over from this sector. Although, the Indian Government has yet not cleared their stand on the six Indians but it is believed that they were sent across the border for spying.

The officials of ISI were said to have taken the arrests seriously and planned to counter-react. Further sources said the ISI had sent a seven-member team of senior officials of the Pakistan Army under the command of a Brigadier to India three weeks back. The seven officials, all above the rank of a Captain, were said to have stayed at Ferozepore for three days and in the Khemkaran sector for two days before leaving for their country.

Interestingly, their illegal entry into India was planned at a time when all major Indian intelligence agencies posted at Ferozepore lacked proper network. None of the officials in charge of SIB, MI and BSF were present at their headquarters when the officials of Pakistan Army entered India and went back safely.

Although, the exact reasons of their coming were not known but it is believed that they were on a week’s secret mission to review the preparations made by the Indian Army along the border.

Earlier, seven attempts were made by the Pakistanis to enter India from the Fazilka sector in the past six months. On a few occasions three persons were arrested while on other occasions the moves were repelled.


Border villagers feel insecure
Tribune News Service

Indo-Pak border (Amritsar), May 16
The hardened stand of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Lal Krishan Advani against Pakistan after the militant attack on the Army camp near Jammu has instilled a sense of insecurity among residents of the border belt. The heightened tension has severely hit paddy sowing in the area.

In the wake of the announcement of teaching Pakistan a lesson some families have decided to move their moveable properties, women and children to safer places. Already affected due to the army build-up coupled with the laying of mines in their fields near the international border the villagers are a scared lot these days.

Mr Amarbir Singh of Narli village, which is only 2 km away from the Pakistan border, said he himself had shifted the freshly harvested wheat to Amritsar even as the danger of Indo-Pak conflict looms large these days. Gurmej Singh of Khalra village said he saw a few families taking their belongings to safer places. Gurmej Singh of Narli village has also shifted some moveable property to safer places.

Adesh Kumar of Bhikhiwind claimed that he had seen the Army laying fresh mines near the border. He said the Army had stepped up its activities after the attack on the Army camp.

However, Dilbagh Singh and Ajit Singh, residents of Dauke village, said though many villagers were feeling insecure but there was not even a single person who was planning to migrate to any other place. They said many villagers who had shifted their belongings were now bringing them back.


Kaluchak carnage victims cremated

Gurdaspur, May 16
A large number of mourners belonging to Pharwal village and surrounding areas on Thursday bade a tearful adieu to Sepoy Manjit Singh and his infant sons, Davinder Kumar and Gagandeep, who became victims of terrorists’ bullets at Kaluchak in Jammu & Kashmir on May 14. Jasbir Kaur, widow of Manjit Singh, could not attend the ceremony as she is undergoing treatment at Military Hospital, Jammu.

The bodies reached the native village of the victims in the morning and were cremated at 12.30 p.m. with full state honours. A contingent of the police reversed arms and fired shots in the air. The bodies were consigned to flames by the father of Manjit Singh.

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, wife of local MLA Rumal Chand and Mr Ram Lal, a former MLA, placed floral wreaths on the bodes.

The villagers requested the Deputy Commissioner to raise a memorial to the departed souls. The Deputy Commissioner assured them that he would talk to the government in this regard.


PRTC ends free, concessional travel
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
In a major decision the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) has put an end to free and concessional travel on its buses plying under the kilometre scheme in the state.

The PRTC management has issued notices to its employees deputed as conductors in private buses which ply on its routes under the scheme, asking them to adopt the policy followed by Punjab Roadways in this regard. The latter does not entertain any free or concessional travel on its buses plying under the kilometre scheme. Under the scheme, PRTC pays private operators a fixed sum of money per km to run its buses and also deputes its own men as conductors on these buses.

The decision, which is likely to hit students and police personnel the most, will also affect old-age pensioners, journalists and other categories of people which were allowed free or concessional travel on PRTC buses.

Sources said the decision had been taken to ensure that the kilometre scheme started by the corporation, which it wanted to expand, remained viable. The sources said a consensus had emerged that the buses hired by the corporation had to get rid of their liabilities and the facilities of free and concessional travel were not allowing this to happen. It was felt that it these sops had to be withdrawn.

The sources said the decision had also been taken as the corporation had earned a hefty profit through the scheme under which it was running 150 private buses on its routes. They said the corporation wanted to add another 100 private buses under the scheme this year on routes where the passenger density was more and these would not affect its own services. They said the free services were however coming in the way as private operators had serious reservations about the continuance of these services.


Arrest warrants against 520 farmers
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 16
The cooperative banks in the district have obtained arrest warrants against 520 defaulting farmers who have not repaid back the loans given to them. These banks have so far sent 14 defaulting farmers to the jail.

Mr Joginder Pal Singh, Manager of the Agriculture Development Cooperative Bank, here, while talking to mediapersons said that Rs 11 crore of the bank was outstanding against the farmers, out of which only Rs 83 lakh had been recovered.

Similarly Rs 9.90 crore of the Budhlada branch was also outstanding out of which just Rs 42.83 lakh had been recovered.

There are 2,095 defaulters of the cooperative bank at Budhlada and arrest warrants against 250 defaulting farmers have been obtained.


Cong trying to reign in dissidents
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
The Congress is pulling out all stops to make dissidents posing threats to back down even at the last minute with even police officials, local CID men being engaged to gauge the threat.

Simultaneously, Patiala MP Preneet Kaur is conducting a whirlwind tour of various wards in the city, particularly those where dissident Congressmen and Independents pose a threat to official candidates. She has been holding a number of meetings in various wards for the past two days, sometimes holding meetings every fifteen minutes. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is also expected to address a meeting at Anardana Chowk late this evening.

SAD President Parkash Singh Badal addresses an MC election rally in Patiala.

Mr Mohan Singh Phalianwala at a BSP rally in Patiala. — photos Darshan Singh

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal also addressed two thinly attended meetings during the day and is also expected to address another one in the evening.

The Congress has pulled out all stops for the last two days to make its dissidents see reason. Police officials have been openly approaching Independent candidates to facilitate their withdrawal from the election fray in favour of the official Congress nominees. While this has had some effect few of the candidates have refused to withdraw their names.

Sources said local CID personnel in plain clothes were also taking down facts of meetings addressed by prominent dissidents. They have been seen noting down facts as to who presided over the meeting to gauge the popularity of candidates.

There is also talk of large sums of money being offered to independent candidates to withdraw from the contest. Those official candidates are the highest bidders who feel they may become Mayor. Bickering among senior party leaders is also going on. They are accusing each other of spoiling their chances. Senior Dalit leader Kabir Das, who is also in the race for Mayorship, openly asked senior Congress leader K. K. Sharma to answer allegations that he had propped up an Independent candidate against him. Severely embarassed in front of Ms Preneet Kaur, Mr K. K. Sharma claimed that he did not even know the Independent.

Meanwhile, candidates of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party seem to have been let down by their senior leaders. The former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who had earlier played a major role in the city politics has been virtually absent from the field this time. Capt Kanwaljit has campaigned just for Youth Akali leader Ranjit Singh Nikra’s brother Inderjit Singh Kala.

Other Akali leaders have also done selective campaigning and there has been no joint campaign. Senior Akali leaders Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur and Surjit Singh Rakhra are campaigning for their supporters only. The Akali leaders put up a show of strength today when former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the city with Mr Rakhra, the SGPC member, Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath and the former Subordinate Services Selection Board Chairman, Mr Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, attending the meetings. However, the meetings could not evoke much response from people of the city.

The BJP campaign has been even worse with groupism at the local level coming to fore. Senior BJP leaders have also failed to campaign for the party. The BJP is also finding it difficult to retain its urban base in the face of an upbeat Congress.


Cong rebels expelled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
District Congress Committee president Yoginder Dhingra and general secretary Surinder Arjun today expelled four rebel Congress candidates who had failed to withdraw from the corporation election fray.

They are Ms Veena Mahajan (ward 14), Mr Kanwal Nain Singh (ward 13), Mr Gurcharan Singh Sohal (ward 51) and Mr Kashmir Singh (ward 57). Mr Gurdev Singh Bau, another rebel candidate from ward 19, has been asked to withdraw from the contest.


Talwandi releases report on Bhaniarawala
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Alleging that the SGPC was sitting over and trying to hush up the three-member commission report on the activities of Baba Bhaniarawala, former SGPC president and the senior vice-president of SAD Jagdev Singh Talwandi released the copies of the report to the media here today. He said his only purpose was to bring the findings of the commission before the general public.

The 48-page report does not seem to make any new or significant revelations except for documenting all incidents that occurred and the people involved or related to the controversy. It holds several politicians, including former Union Home Minister Buta Singh, his nephew Joginder Singh Mann, former Akali MP Amrik Singh Aliwal, former Punjab minister, Gurdev Singh Badal and his son Kewal Badal and others of directly or indirectly responsible for encouraging, patronising and popularising Bhaniarawala. Besides, it also blames a number of Nihang leaders and police officers for helping Bhaniarawala in spreading his cult.

In fact the report says that Mr Buta Singh had laid the foundation stone of the dera named as Dharam Kala Asthan Bhaniarawala, set up by Piara Singh Bhaniarawala. The report does not buy former Home Minister’s argument that he had visited Bhaniarawala just to get medicines for his wife. However, the foundation stone of the dera had been laid down on March 3, 1996, much before Bhaniarawala was excommunicated from the Panth.


Lack of funds hits dam project
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 16
The Shahpur Kandi dam project has been hanging fire for want of funds.

The multi-purpose Ranjit Sagar dam project, known as Thein Dam, estimated to cost Rs 3,800 crore, will be completed only when, three projects, the Shahpur Kandi dam project, 168 mw, the Upper Doab project, State III 57 mw and the Shahpur Kandi extention hydel project 75 mw are taken up and completed.

Shahpur Kandi dam project comprises 54.5 metre-high concrete dam, near the Old Fort at Jugial village.

A 7.70 km-long hydel channel and two power plants are to be constructed on river Ravi, 11 km down stream of Ranjit Sagar Dam and 8 km upstream of Madhopur headworks.

According to sources, its estimated cost has risen from Rs 895 crore to Rs 1,500 per price index of 1991. According to experts, the estimated cost of this project has almost doubled compared to price index of 1991.

The project was approved by the Planning Commission in 1993 and its foundation stone was laid by then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.

The project has also been cleared by the Environment Ministry. According to sources, till now, Rs 100 crore had been spent on investigation, survey, around 3,186 acres of land has been acquired for the project. But now, work come to a “standstill” due to want of funds.

According to sources, despite opposition by the dam employees, the authorities are looking for private contractor or company to complete the project.

With the completion of this project, 3.84 lakh hectares of land in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in Jammu and Kashmir, would come under irrigation, said dam authorities.

Commencement of power generation at the Ranjit Sagar Dam is the beginning and not the end of the exploitation of the basin of the Ravi, say residents.


DCC seeks President’s rule in Gujarat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
The District Congress Committee (DCC), Faridkot, yesterday held a rally in front of the Mini-Secretariat, Faridkot, to show resentment over the incidents in Gujarat. The committee also submitted a memorandum to the President for the implementation of the President’s rule in Gujarat.

A former minister, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, while addressing the rally said as Gujarat was being ruled by the BJP which was a communal party, the riots in the state could not end soon. He said the riots would claim many more lives.

Mr Brar said if the situation in Gujarat was not brought under control immediately, the riots could spread to other parts of the country. He said the situation could be brought under control only if the President’s rule was imposed in Gujarat.

He said the riots were a danger to the unity and integrity of the nation. He said the clean chit given to the Chief Minister of Gujarat by the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister had been responsible for the continuing violence in that state.

The state president of the UCPI, Mr Sukhinder Singh Dhaliwal, said the Union Government should resign as it had failed to control the violence in Gujarat.

He said, “It is against the interest of the country that the new Lok Sabha Speaker is from the Shiv Sena, which has stated on many occasions that only Hindus can live in India”. He added that such a Speaker could not do justice to his job.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh, president of the DCC, Faridkot, Mr Gurtej Singh Gill, president, Municipal Council, Faridkot, Mr Surinder Gupta, former president of the DCC, Faridkot.


Rs 1.28 lakh suit against Gurdas Mann
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 16
A local court has issued a notice for July 19 to Gurdas Mann, Punjabi singer, and Narinderjit Singh of Patiala to present their case in a civil suit filed against them for the recovery of Rs 1.28 lakh by the Sea Hawks Musical Organisation, Ghanauli (Ropar).

The civil suit was filed by the plaintiff on May 13 while the court issued the notice in this regard yesterday.

In the civil suit the plaintiff has mentioned that the Sea Hawks Musical Organisation had proposed to organise a Gurdas Mann night on February 5, 2000, at Ghanauli to collect funds for helping the flood-affected victims of Orissa. Gurdas Mann had accepted the offer and settled for Rs 1 lakh to perform and participate in the proposed night.

The plaintiff further added that Narinderjit Singh on the behalf of Gurdas Mann visited the spot on December 18, 1999, and received Rs 1 lakh as advance and issued a receipt in this regard. It was also agreed between the parties that in case of cancellation of programme the plaintiff would inform Gurdas Mann and Narinderjit Singh in advance and would be entitled for the refund of advance money.

The plaintiff further stated due to unavoidable circumstances the proposed night was cancelled and Mann and Narinderjit Singh were informed in advance. But even after approaching them several times for refund of the money the amount was not refunded despite a legal notice to them on February 18.


Goods train derails, traffic hit
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
Six coaches of a goods train carrying wheat derailed here early this morning, delaying more than nine trains for more than five hours.

The train that was coming from Gurdaspur derailed in the city limits near the busy Bhandari overbridge, allegedly due to a technical fault. According to Mr J.R. Marwaha, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), the axle of one of the wheels of the train gave away leading to the derailment while five coaches followed the first one.

No casualty or loss of goods was reported due to the incident.

Mr Marwaha said an inquiry had been ordered into the incident which had damaged about 150 metres of the rail track. 


Probe into admissions scam starts
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 16
Mr Lajpat Singh Batala, a police official, has started an inquiry into the alleged scam involving Rs 10 crore of admissions to Khalsa Rural Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan in the district. Fresh probe has been started on the request of Mr Ajitinder Singh Mofar, a former Congress MLA from Sardulgarh Assembly constituency, who alleged that an Akali MLA was involved in the admission scandal of the dental college.

On the complaint of Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma, a former IAS officer, the Sadar Mansa police registered a case on November 4, 1999 under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against Mr Naginder Singh Harika, Managing Director of the Dental College. He was arrested on May 1, 2001. Mr Mohinder Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Mansa, framed charges under Section 420 of the IPC against the accused who is in jail since May 1 last year.

Mr B.C. Rajput, District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda stayed the proceedings in the court of CJM, Mansa and summoned record of the case.


3 die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
Three persons were killed when their car collided head-on with a police bus in New Amritsar, near the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway, today.

The deceased have been identified as Inderjit Singh, a resident of Azad Nagar, Sampuran Singh of Kot Khalsa and Sukhraj Singh of Medical Enclave. 


DC pulls up SDM in social boycott case
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 16
Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, has taken a strong note of the alleged social boycott of members of the Balmiki Community at Toderwal village by members of upper castes following a news item published in The Tribune yesterday.

Mr Verma has directed the Subdivisional Magistrate, Sultanpur Lodhi to give full protection to members of the weaker section at the village and take strict action against the culprits.

Mr Verma ordered an enquiry into the alleged role of the Block Development and panchayat officer Sultanpur Lodhi, in the case.

He declared that the land dispute would be resolved on merit of the case.


Lecturers remanded in police custody
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
Three lecturers of the local Rajindra Government College, who were caught red-handed by the vigilance Bureau taking tuitions at their residential premises yesterday, were remanded in police custody up to May 17 when they were produced before the chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Surinder Mohan, today.

These arrested lecturers — Mr Harbhajan Singh of maths, Mr Satvir Singh of chemistry and Mr Amolak Singh Sekhon of physics — had been running tuition centres at their residential premises and charging Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 from each student per month. The accused had been forcing the students to take tuition from them, Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), said here today.

During the raids, 52 students were found taking tuition from accused Harbhajan Singh, 74 students from Amolak Singh Sekhon and 27 students from Satvir Singh.


Teacher taking tuitions held

Amritsar, May 16
Vimal Parkash Bhatnagar, a lecturer of the local DAV College, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau which conducted raids on tuition centres yesterday. OC


Forum to fight corruption
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
The Vigilant Citizens Forum (VCF), established under the aegis of Swami Vivekanand Study Circle, Bathinda, on Tuesday, while deciding to fight corruption in its all manifestations, urged the authorities concerned to give exemplary punishment to corrupt public servants by treating them as anti-national, traitors and criminals. The forum also demanded the removal of those undeserving persons sitting on high-ranking posts, who had secured jobs for money, as they could not do any justice to society.

Appreciating the courage shown by some people in exposing the corruption, the VCF pointed out that severe punishment for those who had snatched the rights of genuine aspirants for various posts, was mandatory. The authorities concerned should ensure that merit must prevail in the long run.

In a press note issued here on Tuesday, the VCF president, Mr D.L. Jindal, and general secretary, Mr Prem Bhatia, said the forum expressed its solidarity with all forces which had been fighting against corruption at every level of society. The VCF appreciated the stand taken by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, the role played by media, Bar Association of Punjab and Haryana High Court and district bar associations in fighting corruption.


Lok adalat to decide cases on May 18
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
A lok adalat will be held at local courts on May 18. Mr B.C. Rajput, District and Sessions Judge, will preside over the adalat. Mr HPS Mahal, Member, Secretary of the Punjab Legal Services Authority, will be special guest. Ten courts will be held on that day as part of lok adalat.

Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority Gurbir Singh stated this here yesterday. He said cases of loan default of State Bank of Patiala, UCO Bank, Canara Bank , the Oriental Bank of Commerce would be taken up at the adalat. Other cases under trial at different courts could also be put up before the lok adalat, he added. He said that cases of accident claims, family disputes, 138 NI, 125 Cr PC, civil suits, rent dispute cases, Guardian Act, criminal appeal and the cases where compromise was possible could be brought in the lok adalat.

Anybody wanting to put up case before the adalat should send an application to the adalat. He said in addition to this special adalat, every Saturday a Lok adalat was held at local courts . Mr S.K. Garg, Additional Sessions Judge, and Ms Manjot Kaur, Civil Judge (Junior Division), presided over that lok adalat. 


BKU (E) to launch stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) will launch a stir to pressurise the government against arresting defaulting farmers besides getting their other demands accepted.

The BKU (E) has decided to launch stir afresh to garner public support and funds. 


No duty charge for PSIEC officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
To improve efficiency and eradicate slackness in the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation. (PSIEC), it has been decided as a policy to do away with giving current duty charge to officers/officials working in the corporation.

It was observed that the current duty charge was given to a number of officers in the engineering wing in a most casual manner. No criteria of benchmark was considered before giving current duty charge to these officers, most of whom were either implicated in disciplinary cases or were not fulfilling the required condition of passing the department examination/the qualifying benchmark of minimum service required, says a PSIEC spokesperson.

Keeping this in view, the current duty charge of the Executive Engineers given to J.K. Sharma, H.S. Matharoo, Sub Divisional Engineers, have been withdrawn. He said Mr Matharoo, SDE, whose current duty charge stands withdrawn, was allegedly implicated in a case of misappropriation of funds in connivance with a contractor. Though no work was executed, a bill was raised and accounted for. The officer has been chargesheeted and inquiry entrusted to Mr K.D. Arora, IAS (Retired).

Similarly, J.K. Sharma was allegedly found involved in a case of misappropriation of funds of the corporation for not accounting for super structures and illegal cutting/selling of eucalyptus trees at Focal Point, Mohali.

Likewise, Guljinder Singh, J.E., having current duty charge of SDE (Electrical) is facing charges allegedly for causing loss to the corporation in electrical installation at Industrial Growth Centre, Pathankot. N.S. Chinna, J.E., also does not fulfil the minimum bench mark in his respective feeder cadre in respective grading as per his service record. D.S. Mehta, Site Engineer’s current duty charge as an SDE has also been withdrawn. He was allegedly found indulging in allowing illegal possession of the corporation land to a private party.

In an other case of iron and steel depot at Mandi Gobindgarh, charge sheet has been issued to Karnail Singh, SDE and Karam Singh, Junior Engineer, as they allegedly raised a bill of work, which was never executed. The contractor in this case has issued a notice to the corporation for making payment. Explanation of C.M. Sharma, the then Executive Engineer, and now Superintending Engineer, has been called for.

The corporation has also taken up the matter with the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, to intimate details of the records seized by them from the office of the Executive Engineer-IV, Jalandhar, to hold department enquiry and to bring the culprits to book in a case of illegal occupation of the corporation’s land being cultivated in connivance with the officials of the PSIEC at Goindwal Sahib.

In another encroachment case of Growth Centre, Pathankot, Savtyej Singh, JE, has been chargesheeted for a major penalty.


PSEB staff hold rallies
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, May 16
Members of various unions of the Punjab State Electricity Board held rallies at different places in the city on a call given by the Struggle Committee, to pressure the authorities to accept their long-pending demands.

Employees of the local Thermal Plant belonging to the GNDTP Employees Federation held a rally near the plant today to show their resentment against the “indifferent attitude” of the authorities towards their demands.

Mr Gursewak Singh, president of the association, said that the authorities were not implementing the decisions taken during their meetings with the management. He said resentment prevailed among the employees due to the cancellation of giving overtime to maintenance staff, no new appointment being on vacant posts, cancellation of generation allowance etc.

He added that the authorities were not adjusting the surplus staff and the promotion scale of 9.16,25 years was not given to all employees.

Various units of the Technical Services Union (TSU) held rallies at different subdivisions in and around the city.

The speakers at those rallies criticised the government for making efforts to privatise the PSEB.

ROPAR: Employees of the Ropar circle of the PSEB observed a strike in support of their demands which include withdrawal of a circular issued to abolish 15,000 posts in the PSEB and promotion scales for the employees after 9 and 16 years of service.

In a press note issued here, Mr Radhe Shyam Sharma, convener of the Struggle Committee, claimed that all substations observed a complete strike in this Circle while the cash counters at Ghanauli, Bela Chamkaur Sahib and Mainpur remained closed. The employees also held a rally here.

TARN TARAN: The strike call given by the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee evoked a mixed response here.

Employees organised rallies in support of their demands and warned that they would take stern action if the management privatised the board.

PHILLAUR: An almost complete strike was observed by PSEB employees here today. Only senior officers like junior Engineers, S.D.O.s and XENs, performed their respective duties to maintain normal power supply in the area. 


2 get jail for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
Mr Channan Singh, Special Judge, Ferozepore, has sentenced a clerk, Basant Singh, at tehsil office, Zira, and a mandi supervisor, Surjeet Singh, at Ferozepore to one-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and fine in separate cases of corruption registered against them.

Basant Singh was booked in 1997 when he was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 1000 from Mr Gurdeep Singh of Chak Wadala village in Jalandhar district for giving him a conveyance deed certificate. He was caught redhanded by Mr Sukhdev Singh, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore.

Surjeet Singh posted at the Market Committee, Ferozepore demanded a bribe of Rs 1000 from a resident of Nizamwala village in Ferozepore district for not cancelling his weighing licence. The ‘victim’ Kasam, alias Kala, informed the Vigilance Bureau, which laid a trap and caught Surjeet Singh redhanded for accepting a bribe of Rs 1000 in 2000.


PTU computer courses get good response
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The overwhelming response to distance education computer courses of Punjab Technical University (PTU) has not only raked in revenue of Rs 30 crore for the university at the start of this academic session but also created hundreds of jobs.

Nearly 20,000 students across the country have enrolled for various computer courses started by PTU. The university has created more than 200 study centres for the convenience of the students leading to job creation for more than 1,400 persons. The university has generated fee revenue of Rs 30 crore through this huge enrolment this year, according to a spokesman of the university here yesterday.

While a majority of the students have enrolled from the northern states, including Punjab, the encouraging response from students from southern states has come as a pleasant surprise to the university. Mr A.S. Grewal, Director, Distance Education, PTU said: “We are in the process of establishing study centres in the southern states where students have enrolled for our courses.” He said till recently, students from the North, including Punjab, were enrolling for correspondence courses in various branches of computer studies in universities in the South.

He gave an assurance that students would get full value for their money through well-equipped study centres and the fee structure devised by the university for the computer courses was among the lowest. “Students enrolling for similar courses run by other institutes end up paying more than twice the amount they pay for the PTU courses”, Mr Grewal said.

“We have received a tremendous response from our region and a few students even from abroad have got themselves enrolled with us. A major factor of this tremendous response is, on the one hand, the economical fee structure and, on the other hand, the creditability of PTU and well-designed courses,” said Mr Gurmeet Singh, Managing Director, GCS Computer Tech Pvt Ltd., one of the regional service providers of PTU.

The major computer courses started by PTU include M.Sc in Information Technology, B.Sc in IT, Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Applications (PGDCA), M.Sc-IT (lateral entry) and B.Sc –IT (lateral entry). Besides, the university has launched a five-year integrated course in B.Sc-IT after matriculation.


Probe into fake degree racket ordered
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 16
The Department of Education, Punjab has ordered an inquiry into the recruitment racket involving use of fake degrees to get admission to ETT course. Taking congnisance of the report published in The Tribune, the Additional Secretary, School Education, Mr Amarjit Singh Pannu, today directed the DPI, primary schools, to submit a report on the matter.

Sources said the department had already initiated action against Avtar Singh, a candidate from Jalandhar, who was recruited against the B.Ed degree acquired from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidhyapeeth, Varanasi. His degree was found to be fake during verification.

The previous government had recruited 7,230 teachers as ETTs last year through the district-level department selection committee. Of these, 3,311 were ETT-qualified teachers and the rest had B.Ed. degrees.

The sources said about 1,000 teachers who were recruited had acquired degrees from universities in other states. Anomalies were detected in the degrees allotted by some universities of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The anomalies included varying signatures of Vice-Chancellors, a high percentage of marks scored by almost all candidates and the period in which the degrees were issued. Most of the degrees were issued one to two years before the said recruitment. Another suspectable anomaly in the B.Ed. degrees issued by the Magadh University was that one of the subjects offered was Punjabi. 


Baba Farid varsity PMET test on June 23
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 16
The Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, Faridkot, has been authorised by Punjab Government to hold Punjab Medical Entrance Test (PMET)-2002 in compulsory subjects of physics, chemistry and biology for admission to MBBS/BDS courses in medical colleges at Amritsar, Patiala, Faridkot, Ludhiana, Sunam, Dera Bassi and Muktsar. The test shall cover ayurvedic colleges also for admissions to BAMS course at Patiala, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Moga Mandi Gobindgarh, Muktsar and Gopalpur (Ludhiana). For BHMS course 50 seats each have been allotted to Homoeopathic Medical College Abohar, and Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic Medical College, Ludhiana.

According to a notification signed by Principal Secretary, Medical Education & Research , Punjab K.K. Bhatnagar was received here on Wednesday the candidates who had passed in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English individually and obtained 40 per cent marks together in physics, Chemistry, and Biology in 10 plus 2 examination would be eligible for test for BAMS/BHMS. SC ST BC candidates with pass marks would be eligible.

The entrance test will be conducted on June 23 at Abohar, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Faridkot, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Pathankot. The interview shall be held at Faridkot. 

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |