Saturday, May 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sacked PCS officials seek justice
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 24
Terming the Punjab Government’s action in dispensing with their services as an “arbitrary” and “injudicious” step, a section of 28 PCS officers (Executive), maintained that this would ruin the families and would mar the career of even those “genuine” officers who had joined the service after duly clearing the examination and after burning the midnight oil,” “without paying a single penny to anybody”.

The officials, also criticised the government for not initiating any action against PCS (Judicial) officials, selected during the tenure of the PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, particularly, those selected in 1999 like them.

“This has caused mental agony to us and our families. They have served no notice upon us,” said Jagjit Singh, a Kapurthala-based PCS officer, serving as Assistant Commissioner (General). “I have duly cleared the examination and I am even ready for re-checking of my papers. Moreover, how could I pay such a huge amount for my selection, when my father was a mere college teacher, who had not earned an amount of Rs 40 lakh during his whole service,” said Mr Jagjit Singh. “Moreover, why those PCS (Judicial) officials were not touched by the government who had been selected during the year 1999?” questioned Mr Jagjit Singh.

Similarly, Mr Amarjit Singh, another Kapurthala-based PCS (Executive) official, said the government action had come as a bolt from the blue for him and his family and they had become victims without any of their faults. “I had even qualified IAS (written) three times and had been trying my luck with the PPSC since 1984 till finally I got selected in 1999. But suddenly, my toil has been thrown to winds,” rued Mr Amarjit Singh, who said he had even left his career with the State Bank of India, where he had been serving as a PO and a Deputy Manager, for the sake of joining the state administrative services. “But now, even bank people won’t take me back. Career of my kids, who are studying, will also get jeopardised though they have done nothing wrong,” said Mr Amarjit Singh adding,” If somebody has adopted the wrong path it does not mean we should suffer on their behalf. 


28 PCS officers relieved
Tribune News Service and PTI

Chandigarh, May 24
The twenty-eight Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers whose services were “dispensed with” yesterday were relieved from their places of postings today in Punjab, official sources said here.

The sources said that 18 other nominated officers were reverted to their original non-PCS postings. They were proceeded against yesterday as they were nominated to the PCS on the recommendation of arrested PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu in 1999.

Nearly 20 PCS officers whose services were dispensed with by the Punjab Government yesterday held a meeting here today. They said that their removal was illegal as no opportunity had been given to them to explain their position.

Pleading with Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and Chief Secretary, Punjab, Y.S. Ratra, to review order issued in their case, they said that they would move court in case the government failed to give them justice. They claimed that their name did not figure in the list of officers who paid bribe and action against them had been taken for political reasons.

They said that many of them had outstanding academic record and also cleared IAS mains several times. They asserted that they had completed the probation period of two years. Hence, the orders regarding their unceremonious removal were not based on rules and regulations. 


PPSC ex-chief denies graft charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, facing a Vigilance probe, said today that allegations regarding his properties and assets were baseless and politically motivated.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has ordered a Vigilance probed against him following a report in a newspaper stating that such and such properties belonged to Mr Sidhu.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said that allegations against him regarding the amassing of huge wealth beyond known sources of income were malicious and politically motivated. He said that he did not purchase any property from 1992 to 1996, when he was Chairman of the commission. He said that he was ready for any inquiry and his properties could be scrutinised by any person.

Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh, MLA from Talwandi Saboo, who is the son of Mr Sidhu, said as he had won the election own his on steam as an independent candidate, it had not been tolerated by his rivals in the Congress party. They were hitting them by spreading false stories about his family assets. He urged that the assets and properties held by a former MLA from Talwandi Sabo, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, should also be investigated.

Mr Sucha Singh Chotepur, another MLA from Dhariwal, who was also present in the press conference, said that there should be an impartial inquiry and nobody should be made a target on the basis of false allegations.


DC reallocates posts following dismissal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 24
Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh today posted two PCS officers to positions falling vacant due to dismissal of three PCS officers by the state government besides making internal arrangements to handle the third post falling vacant in the district administration.

Three PCS officers — Sukhpreet Singh Sidhu, who posted as Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Gupta, who was posted as Executive Magistrate and Ms Surinder Kaur, who was posted as Assistant Commissioner, Grievances — were amongst those who were dismissed by the government yesterday.

Rajpura Subdivisional Magistrate Amrit Kaur Gill has been asked to take additional charge of Assistant Commissioner, Grievances and District Revenue Officer A S Tiwana has been asked to take the additional charge of Assistant Commissioner, General. Other work, including the charge of Executive Magistrate, is to be looked after by PCS under trainees.


Give Sidhu case to CBI, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Hailing the decision of the Punjab Government to dispense with the services of 46 PCS officers, the President of the Akali Dal, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, said that further investigation into the recruitment scandal in the Punjab Public Service Commission should be handed over to the CBI. He said that in the past few days, the investigation had not been handled in a proper manner and a number of discrepancies had appeared in it.

He said variations in the statement of Randhir Singh Gill at the time of recording his statements before the authorities concerned at different levels was a serious matter as it could jeopardise the case. It appeared that he had not been handled properly at the investigation level.

He has also appealed to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take away work from the Judges whose names have figured during the course of police investigation in the recruitment scam.

He said he would challenge the Prevention of Terrorism Act ( POTA) in the Supreme Court. The Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 21 had dismissed his petition, wherein he had challenged POTA.

He said that the Kashmir Valley was already in the grip of violence and in case of war, Punjab would also be affected. He said that he would build up public movement against war.

He said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully and democratically and the pre-1953 status of the Kashmir restored.


Officials facing graft charges given plum posts
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24
The posting of a section of officials of the Department of Industries, Punjab, who were caught red-handed while taking bribe for advancing loans under various schemes in the past few years, on the same positions from where they were caught, has surprised many in the department on the one hand and on the other caused a major setback to the state government’s resolve to wipe out corruption.

Mr Narinder Mittal, President, BJP, Mandal unit, Bathinda, said to stop such a trend, he would write to the higher authorities of the Industries Department. He added that on the one hand, the Congress government had been claiming that it would eradicate corruption, while on the other hand, officials facing corruption charges, had been posted on same positions from where they were caught.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that two Senior Industrial Promotion Officers (SIPOs) in Amritsar district, who were caught red-handed while taking bribe, had been given the same posts by the higher Industry Department authorities despite the fact the official had still been facing trials under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Similarly, one SIPO of this district, who was caught red-handed while taking bribe from an applicant for advancing him loan, had been working on the same post from where he was caught.

Information further revealed that this had been going on in the department despite the fact that a subsidy scam was unearthed about seven years ago and the CBI probed the same on the direction of Punjab and Haryana High Court when a PIL was filed on a news-item regarding the scam published in The Tribune.

As many as two officials, who were placed under suspension after they were caught red-handed while taking bribe, were reinstated on the basis of pending inquiry.

Mr Surjeet Singh, General Manager, District Industry Centre (DIC), Amritsar, when contacted on the telephone, pointed out that some assignments to these officials were given due to the nature of their job. He added that one of the officials, came back on the same post after about two and a half years. He denied that other official had been given any significant assignment.

Mr Jaspal Singh, General Manager, DIC, Bathinda, when contacted, said postings were done at the Directorate level and the local office had not role in postings and transfers.

Ms Ravneet Kaur, Additional Director, Department of Industries, Punjab, when contacted, said she was not aware of the facts and she would check up the record whether such officials, who had been facing graft charges, had been posted on the same positions.


Intelligence agencies plan strategy
RAW officials sidelined
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, May 24
Three major intelligence agencies working in the border areas of this sector have drawn up a strategy to provide valuable information to the Army regarding the possible targets of Pakistan and the internal movement of the Pakistani army.

At a meeting held here yesterday at the BSF headquarters, senior officials of the Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and the intelligence wing of the BSF discussed the present situation.

Sources in the intelligence agencies said the meeting focused on a strategy at a time when there was a possibility of a war between India and Pakistan. The other issues were looking into intelligence failures, scanning media reports on defence activities and identifying fixed targets of Pakistan.

In order to have a better understanding between these agencies, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was requested by the Ministry of Defence to restructure the functioning of the Intelligence Bureau. Following the instructions, similar meetings were also held in Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir.

Officials of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the state intelligence agencies were not called upon to participate at the meeting. The sources said this was because the reports were “top secret”.

The meeting discussed at length about the aspects of defence preparedness in this sector, Pakistan’s possible response and role of the intelligence agencies to help the Army move forward. The agencies were of the view that they could help the Army “react” timely on possible targets inside Pakistan, provided they were taken into full confidence.

The agencies, however, said they were lacking behind in updating their information on the movements of the Pakistani army, deployment of artillery weapons and the location of communication control units.

The officials were of the opinion that mediapersons should be banned from visiting the border areas and the Army/BSF establishments. It was believed that the ISI had shifted training camps following an external threat.


Morale of border villagers high
Varinder Walia and Bharat Bushan Dogra

Bamyal (Pathankot), May 24
Residents of the border belt are not scared even as Pakistan fired mortar shells at Kotli Jawahar village, near here, for the third time in a week. “They even go to roofs to see the sporadic firing which shows that their morale is high. They are coming forward to help the Army and the civil administration to meet any eventuality”, says Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner.

A visit to the villages, bordering Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir revealed that Pakistan was able to fire few mortar shells due to its strategically advantageous location. Pakistan has constructed a strong dhussi banth on its side and hence its army could see the movement of Indian troops with a naked eye. However, Mr Barjinder Kumar Uppal, SSP, Gurdaspur, said the administration had taken measures to ensure the safety of people.

Mr Rajan Gupta, IGP, however, said about 2,000 families in the border belt consisting of Gurdaspur, Ferozepore and Amritsar districts had been shifted to safer places. The migration in Amritsar was lesser. He said the media should not exaggerate the plight of the people.

He said a joint control room had been set up at the Circuit House which would be operational from Monday so that mediapersons could get an accurate picture about the situation.

The Gurdaspur district administration has set up relief camps at Bamyal and Khojki Chakk where residents of a few villages, close to zero line, have been shifted.

According to information, the Army had laid mines in 132 border villages of Gurdaspur district while the district administration has distributed Rs 1.1 crore out of a total of Rs 3 crore received so far as compensation to the affected people. The Deputy Commissioner said the rest of the compensation would be distributed shortly. The administration had yet to receive compensation from the Ministry of Defence. While the district administration has distributed compensation to the tune of Rs 6 crore out of a total of Rs 15 crore received so far, a grant of Rs 18 crore was yet to be sent by the Ministry of Defence for Amritsar district.

However, during the casual visit to a relief camp established by the district administration at Senior Secondary School, Narot Jaimal Singh (Pathankot), a few people complained that they were not getting adequate relief and had to arrange for ration etc.

In many villages of Amritsar, people have been complaining about the apathy of the district administration for having failed to come to their rescue at the time of crisis. Channan Singh of Rajatal village alleged that the officials of the district administration had failed to give timely compensation to the affected farmers. The administration could also not arrange for sufficient fodder.

The residents of the border district of Amritsar, however, said they would help the Army and the paramilitary forces, besides the administration.


Army seeks more vehicles from truck owners
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24
Fear has gripped a large number of truck owners of this region after the Army authorities made a fresh demand of about 3,000 trucks for transporting the men and material to the frontiers.

Though two different truck unions have given about 150 trucks to the Army authorities, they fear that they would come on the road if their vehicles were damaged during or before the armed conflict.

Mr Darshan Walia, President, Vir Bhola Truck Union, Grain Market, Bathinda, said fear had gripped the truck owners due to fact that Army authorities had failed to pay the compensation of about 160 trucks, which got damaged in January, 2002, at Bikaner, to the respective owners.

About 160 trucks belonging to Bathinda, Jaito, Goniana and Rampuraphul caught fire at Udasar near Bikaner while transporting arms and ammunition from different locations of this region. Since then, the owners of the vehicles have been running from pillar to post to get the compensation from the authorities concerned but without any success.

Due to the non-payment of compensation by the Army authorities, some truck owners, who used to employ people for maintaining the vehicles have become jobless and were finding it difficult to make their both ends meet.

These truck owners have approached the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, and the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for getting their problems redressed.

The district administration assured them that they would be suitably compensated.

Mr Walia said though the cause for requisition of about 3,000 trucks by the Army authorities through district administration was genuine, the fear among the truck owners was also genuine taking into account their earlier experience.

He added that had the authorities concerned paid the compensation to the affected owners without any delay, they would have given the trucks.

He added that the Army authorities had offered Rs 1,500 as hire charges per day for each truck to the owners.


Irrigation scam: MPs to meet CM
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24
A group of MPs belonging to Punjab has decided to meet Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for holding a probe into the multi-crore irrigation and drainage scam.

Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP (Bathinda), who initiated the move, has collected the relevant documents pertaining to the scam and will hand them over to the Chief Minister along with a joint representation of the MPs.

They decided to take this course after they failed to get a positive response from the previous SAD-BJP combine government and the Prime Minister.

In 2000, 13 MPs of Punjab and other states had written to the Prime Minister, urging him to order a CBI probe into the scam. They alleged that crores had been misappropriated by a section of the then ruling politicians in connivance with Irrigation and Drainage Department officials and contractors. Even the then Irrigation Minister, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, had admitted that Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore had been pocketed by engineers of the department.

Mr Bhora said it was the duty of the Congress government to hold a probe into the scam and recover the amount from the guilty officials, politicians and contractors.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh should also take former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to task as the latter had acquired property worth Rs 3,500 crore and Capt Amarinder Singh had made it a poll plank during the Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, Vigilance Bureau officials have started collecting documents in connection with the scam. They are trying to get those papers of the CID Department in which a finger had been pointed towards the then Minister of State for giving “patronage” to the Irrigation and Drainage Department officials.


Police excesses dominate complaints to PSHRC
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
With Justice J.S. Sekhon joining as Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Election, on April 12, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) is left with four members, including the Chairman, Justice V.K. Khanna.

Does the acceptance of the new assignment by Justice Sekhon mean violation of Clause 6 (3) — Terms of Office of Members — of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993? It reads: ‘’On ceasing to hold office, a Chairperson or a Member shall be ineligible for further employment under the Government of India or under the Government of any State’’.

Justice Sekhon became a Member of the PSHRC on July 16, 1997. He would have retired on May 4, 2002. But on April 12, he was appointed Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Election.

After the exit of Justice Sekhon, the present Chairman/Members of the commission are (in the brackets is the date of retirement): Justice Khanna (July 15, 2002), Mr T.S. Cheema (July 15, 2002), Mr M.S. Chahal (August 7, 2002) and Mrs Maninder K. Mattewal (March 10, 2003).

Thus, all Members will retire, except Mrs Mattewal, by August 7 next. It is time to look for new Members. A file has been sent to the government for the necessary action, say sources.

The PSHRC was established in July, 1997. Its first full financial year of functioning was 1998-99. The commission has successfully streamlined the system and procedure for dealing with complaints. During that year, 1,148 complaints regarding human rights abuses in Punjab were received. The maximum were from Ludhiana (204) followed by Patiala (141) and Amritsar (133). Besides, the PSHRC took suo motu cognisance of 91 newspaper reports.

Of 1,063 complaints the PSHRC scrutinised, the maximum pertained to police excesses (434), custodial violence (52), custodial death, both police and judicial (12 and 6, respectively), unlawful arrests (70) and jails (53). This shows that the police will take a long time to reform.

The experience of the commission, sources say, is that ‘’despite a decrease in the number of cases of police excess, following a decline in terrorism, the police has not given up the habit of undue interference in private disputes and issuing threats of false implication, which reveal an attitude where officials seem to regard themselves as above the law. This is in extreme disjunction with modern democracy’’.

The recommendation of the PSHRC to the police is to introspect in order to change the mindset of the rank and file. Case studies dealt with by the commission in 1998-99 show that allegations of ‘’ belligerence and arrogance have time and again been levelled against the police. Upon investigation, the commission has found that in many cases, the allegations were true’’. More often than not, the police tends to “cover up” by recording false alibi, to protect its own men. This hurts the victims.

The commission has awarded compensation in a large number of cases to the victims of police high-handedness, including registration of false cases against innocent persons. In one case, the dependents of person, who died in police custody, were given a compensation of Rs 3 lakh. They submitted an affidavit to the commission that they did not wish to receive the compensation amount, ‘’for obvious reasons’’, as the commission was later constrained to record. This is not an isolated incident. Alarmed and perturbed over this development, the commission has now deputed a retired district and sessions judge to visit specified areas to probe and submit report.

There is need for ‘’systems reforms’’ in the police because it is in the habit of ‘’biased investigations or undue interference’’, particularly in property disputes. A large number of complaints pertained to this. Even in respect of court cases, the police used undue influence to coerce persons by illegally summoning them to police stations and asking them to withdraw suits or change testimony. This was one ‘’grave charge’’ levelled against police officials throughout 1998-99.

The appointment of the Additional Director-General of Police, Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, in December, 1997, proved to be an asset to the commission. He is at present heading the state police intelligence wing. Many police officials squirmed when he investigated complaints related to police excesses. His fair, firm and unalloyed investigations lent a lot of credibility to the commission. Investigations by Mr Bhatnagar revealed a ‘’tendency by the police force to take the law into its own hands in contravention of the established constitutional practices’’.

The commission, sources say, has found yet another disturbing trend when it came to ‘’scrutinising’’ the police. A large number of complaints — 247 — against the police were withdrawn. This was due to undue influence by the police and the fear of repercussions.

The commission wants the state government to set up a “security commission” to overlook the present police system and also insulate it from extraneous influence, and interferences enabling it to work independently.

The disbursement of compensation took a long time. The commission stipulates it should be given within four to six weeks of the issuance of directions by it. In some cases it took even one year.

A look at the organisational structure of the commission shows that there are still several vacancies in different wings, administrative, investigation, judicial, policy research project and programme division. Besides human rights violations, the commission suo motu took notice of health and environmental issues, inspected hospitals and jails and cared for the welfare of school children and schools sans buildings and blackboards.


Six IAS, 9 PCS officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Punjab Government has transferred six IAS and nine PCS officers. Mr B. Sarkar has been posted as Secretary, School Education, against a vacant post. Mr Sanjay Kumar has been posted as Labour Commissioner and Director, Employment, in place of Mr V.K. Janjua, who has been sent to the Tourism Department as its Special Secretary in addition to Managing Director, Punjab Tourism Development Corporation.

Mr R.L. Kalsia has been posted as Special Secretary, Elections. Mr S.R. Ladhar has been posted as Additional Registrar, Cooperative Societies, and the services of Mr Raminder Singh have been placed at the disposal of the Local Bodies Department for his posting as Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Patiala. Mr Khushi Ram has been posted as Additional Secretary-cum-Additional Director in the Department of Local Government.

Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma’s services have been placed at the disposal of the Local Government Department for posting as Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana.

Mr Prabhjot Singh Mand, has been posted as Chief Executive Officer of the Anandpur Sahib Foundation, relieving Mrs Vini Mahajan. Mr Dharam Dutt Ternach has been posted as Managing Director of the PRTC at Patiala. Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu has been posted as Director, Tourism, Punjab. Mr Rajinder Pal Singh has been posted as Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Ludhiana, and Mr Deepak Raj Garg has been posted as Additional Managing Director, Sugarfed. Mr A.P.S. Virk has been posted as Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Administration) in the Department of Excise and Taxation. Ms Babita has been posted as SDM in Jallandhar (II) subdivision.


Formation of SAD-BJP panel put off
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 24
A joint meeting of working of the SAD and the BJP today deferred the formation of an action committee to fight against the “repression” unleashed by the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh against the alliance workers.

The meeting, the first after the fall of the alliance government in the state, held at Gurdwara Singh Sabha opposite the old tehsil complex, was chaired by Mr Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, a former MLA from the Balluana constituency. Those present included district BJP president Faquir Chand Goyal, block presidents of the two parties, sarpanches and other leading workers.

All the speakers, including Mr Ghuriana lashed out at the present government for “falsely” implicating SAD and BJP workers in criminal cases and trying to sack the municipal council president and some sarpanches in the Abohar and Balluana constituencies on flimsy grounds. From the tone of the speeches it appeared that the possibility of investigation into assets of certain alliance leaders in this area was haunting them.

There have been allegations against some of them not only from the Opposition but also from some senior workers of their own parties, sources said. Some workers said they had been told that a member of the Badal family besides other senior leaders would address the joint meeting, but none of them turned up. There were differences over size of the action committee. Some suggested it should have 11 members. Others were in favour of limiting the number to five only. The workers were given details of zones for zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections expected next month and asked to start preparations for the same.


Cong men leave MC posts to Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 24
The District Congress Committee passed a resolution yesterday authorising the Pradesh Congress President and state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Patiala MP, Ms Preneet Kaur, to select the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the municipal corporation. The Congress has sweeped the MC poll by winning 37 of the 50 seats in the May 19, MC poll.

The sources said the decision has been taken in the view of the factionalism amongst the new corporators. They said it was felt that all groups would only be satisfied if the decision was left to the Chief Minister or his wife who led the party to the polls besides being a major campaigner during electioneering.

Sources said though candidates had till now been lobbying with Mrs Preneet Kaur only, one or two candidates had also met Capt Amarinder Singh recently at Chandigarh to put forward their case forcefully. They said this had been done because three candidates, Mr Sohan Lal Jalota, Mr Vishnu Sharma and Mr Kabir Dass, had emerged for the post of Mayor.

“At present Mr Vishnu Sharma’s case is projected by Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh. Even though Mr Sharma had been a front runner for the post, some partymen have expressed serious reservations against his candidature because of reports of widespread disturbances in ward No. 24 from where he has won by a record margin,” the sources said.

Among the other candidates, Mr Kabir Das represents the Dalit section and was also a strong claimant to the post with Minister Ch Jagjit Singh recommending his candidature. Sources said Mr Das was also likely to be considered for the post of Deputy Mayor in case he did not make it to the Mayor’s post. Mr Sohan Lal Jalota is trying for the post saying he is a loyalist of Ms Preneet Kaur. He, however, does not have any important “godfather” to project his case.

Sources said Ms Preneet Kaur would have a major say in the selection of the candidates for both the posts as she had been virtually heading the election campaign of the party. She, earlier, had the final word in the distribution of tickets and was also instrumental in making many of the dissident Congressmen, who had filled in their nomination papers as Independents, back down.

The final decision in the matter could take a few more days with hectic lobbying going on to satisfy the major groups as well as to deal with 12 woman candidates who have won most of whom are in line for Deputy Mayor.


Pasla faction threatens stir
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 24
The Mangat Ram Pasla faction of the state CPM today threatened to launch a statewide agitation from May 28 to protest against registration of fake cases against party workers and “illegal” possession of the main party office by the Harkishan Singh Surjeet faction with the help of the police authorities.

At a meeting of the state secretariat of the CPM here today, the Pasla faction declared that it would launch a statewide agitation from May 28, if the Congress government failed to reinstate the possession of the main party office at Badri Dass colony here by May 27. Besides, the meeting demanded that the “fake” cases against about 90 party workers, who have been sent to judicial custody by a local court, should be withdrawn immediately.

Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, state secretary of the party, alleged that the district police had played a dirty game by turning a blind eye towards the illegal activities of the Surjit faction, which indulged in hooliganism to gain illegal control of the main party office on Tuesday in the presence of the police.

“So much so that I have been booked for attempt to murder under Section 307, IPC, by the district police by concocting a false story though I was sitting in the office of the Deputy Inspector-General of the Punjab police, Mr Dinkar Gupta, at the time of the alleged incident. There is no law and order in the city as the police is busy shielding the culprits,”Mr Sandhu alleged.

“We are not going to tolerate a police regime in the state and every move to snub us would be dealt with accordingly. Mr Pasla would be coming to India after completing his England tour by May 28 and afterwards the repression policy initiated by the Congress government would be exposed before the people of the state,” he added.

Interestingly, the district police had booked 89 brick-kiln workers, who were holding a party meeting at its Green Park office on May 21, under Sections 107 and 151 of the Cr PC.


Talwandi’s kin joins SHSAD

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 24
The SAD today suffered another setback when a close relative of veteran Akali leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi quit the party and joined the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

SAD leader Randhir Singh Cheema, who was denied the party ticket to contest the recent assembly elections in Punjab, today joined the SHSAD in the presence of Mr Tohra.

Significantly, Mr Talwandi yesterday did not attend the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD held at Chandigarh under the chairmanship of party President Parkash Singh Badal.

Two days ago, another senior SAD leader Manjit Singh Tarn Tarani had quit the SAD in protest against “rampant corruption during the Badal regime in the state’’. Mr Cheema today also charged the SAD President with promoting his family at the cost of the party and encouraging corruption during his rule.

Mr Cheema and his supporters today affirmed their faith in the leadership of Mr Tohra at a function held in Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here. Mr Tohra indicated that Mr Talwandi, who is a senior vice-president of the SAD, might join his party as he is a ‘taksali’ (committed) Akali. Mr Talwandi’s absence in the meeting was not without significance, he added. UNI


Mayoral candidates keep fingers crossed
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
Even after five days of elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation held on May 19, the Congress, which gained a majority in these elections, still seems to be undecided on the final choice of its candidate for the post of Mayor. The situation continues to be fluid as ever, with three strong contenders for the post. They include Mr Prem Mittal, a former Deputy Mayor and convener of the Trade and Small Industries cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress committee, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, member, Disciplinary Action Committee of the PCC, and Mr S S Ahluwalia, also a former Deputy Mayor.

The District Congress Committee (DCC) has already left the decision to the PCC President and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Although the name of Mr Surinder Dawer, an MLA from Ludhiana East also figured among the contenders for the prestigious job, Mr Dawer himself denied that he was interested to become Mayor. “Given a chance, I would prefer to be a minister for the entire state than Mayor of a single city”, he told The Tribune. Mr Prem Mittal has been banking upon the support of the trading and business community of the city. He says that he has no godfather in the high command, but appears confident that his merit would stand him in good stead. He claims that his previous record as the Deputy Mayor is clean and unblemished. “It was an acknowledgement of my integrity that I was appointed the convener of the Trade and Small Industries cell of the PCC”, he argues.

Mr Mittal, who himself belongs to the trading class, has been maintaining that he understands the city well and could watch the interests of its people in a better manner, since trading community constitutes a considerable part of the city’s population. He claims that he has always remained away from controversies and has never aligned with or against anyone within the party. His neutral stand in the party may help him in emerging as a consensus candidate.

On the other hand, Mr Gill, a former PCC General Secretary, also remains a strong contender for the post. His advantage remains his access to some senior Congress leaders, including the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. However, he is faced with strong opposition from within the party, the most pronounced being from Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, MLA from Ludhiana Rural in which Mr Gill’s ward falls.

Another mayoral candidate, Mr Ahluwalia has been elected to the MC for the third consecutive term. He has also served as a Deputy Mayor. Mr Ahluwalia retired from the MC in 1988. Although he has remained a councillor for 10 years, he restricted himself to the local politics only, without creating any support in the senior party leadership. 


IG told to look into valuation of assets
Case against former CS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Acting on a petition seeking the registration of a case against Punjab’s former Chief Secretary V.K. Khanna for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that Punjab’s Inspector-General of Police (Vigilance) may “have a fresh look at the matter”.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Justice Goel also directed that the IG should particularly look into the “valuation of the assets” as far as possible within three months of receiving the order’s copy “without being influenced by the earlier decision of the state government”. The IGP was also asked to submit his report to the Punjab Chief Secretary “who would take a final decision in the matter in accordance with law within three months of receiving the report”.

Accusing Mr Khanna of misusing his official position, petitioner Amarjit Singh of Amritsar had earlier alleged that “immovable properties to the tune of Rs 100 crore through illegal means” had been purchased. Mr Khanna, the petitioner had added, had shown two small factories at Amritsar to be his asset, but “in the course of his service, he had created seven more factories at different places”. Claiming to have forwarded an affidavit regarding the allegations to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, the petitioner had also stated that no action had been taken.

After hearing arguments in the case and going through the record, the Judge observed: “Reply has been filed on behalf of the state as well as the former CS. It was stated in the reply on behalf of the state that a vigilance preliminary inquiry, number four of 1999, was registered against Mr Khanna for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and was done on the complaint of the petitioner. In his reply, Mr Khanna stated that since action has already been taken on the petitioner’s complaint, the petition has become infructuous”.

The Judge further observed: “Without expressing an opinion on merits of the matter of this petition, I am of the view that it may require further consideration. Though counsel for the petitioner has prayed for referring the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation, I am of the view that Punjab IG (Vigilance) may have a fresh look at the matter since the petitioner has already retired”.

Pollution check

Disposing of a petition, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Pollution Control Board and its officials to periodically inspect industrial units in Mandi Gobindgarh for ensuring that the “steel town of Punjab” remained free from pollution.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, also directed the Board to further ensure that the units did not commit any violation of the pollution standards. The Judges ruled: “Any unit found not adhering to the pollution norms would not be allowed to become operational. In case it is found that the pollution standards have been violated by any unit or establishment, the Board and its officials would act swiftly against the erring units”.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed: “Pollution is such a menace that it concerns everybody. It is virtually injurious to the lives of the citizens of this country and violates their fundamental right to live, therefore, the matter of pollution can not be taken lightly.... We dispose of this petition by giving direction to the Board and its officials to ensure that there is no violation on part of any industrial unit whether existing or which may be set up in future. We also hope and give further direction to the Board and its official that in order to ensure that the steel town of Punjab remains free from pollution, they will inspect the units periodically”. 


Judicial remand for Langah’s associates
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 24
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded five close associates of Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD Minister, in judicial custody until June 6. He ordered that they should be produced on that day before the Special Judge, Ropar.

The accused are Amrik Singh Mohali, Gurcharan Singh Channi, Pardeep Bhuteja, Vinod Garg and Kamaljit Singh.

Public prosecutor and Mr Gurmakh Singh, DSP, Vigilance, appeared in the court and pleaded for judicial remand.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Vigilance Department today issued arrest warrants against six persons named in the First Information Report (FIR) registered against the former PWD Minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, for having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Sources in the vigilance bureau said that the arrest warrants had been issued against Sher Singh Shera, Tinku, SDOs — Nimarjeet, Ganagjeet, Satish Kaura, Subash Jain and a contractor, Tinku.


Ahluwalia’s ouster from foundation sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Various organisations of Sikhs have urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht to dissociate the former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, from Guru Gobind Singh Foundation. A similar appeal has been made to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who and his father, have remained associated with the foundation.

Mr Gurdev Singh, president of the Institute of Sikh Studies, addressing a press conference here today said that the representatives of gurdwaras in Chandigarh, SAS Nagar, Panchkula, Gurmat Parsar Seva Society and local members of the SGPC from SAS Nagar and Chandigarh had held a meeting to discuss the affairs of the foundation.

At the meeting, a resolution was passed urging the Jathedar of Akal Takht to take congnisance of the affairs of the foundation and initiate action to fulfil the objectives for which it was set up.

Mr Gurdev Singh alleged that the present President of the foundation, by using the influence of the state government, created a separate trust for the properties of the foundation and himself became is President for life. He managed to oust the then President of the foundation and himself took over. The resolution says, “Propriety, moral considerations and loyalty to the Guru and the foundation set up in his name demand that Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia should immediately tender his resignation to make room for a worthy substitute.”

Dr Gurdev Singh, who was accompanied by Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian, Mrs Baljit Kaur, and Mr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon at the press conference said that a copy of the resolution had been sent to the Jathedar of Akal Takht.


War against FMD begins
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 24
The Punjab Government has decided to take steps to eradicate animals’ diseases from the state. The incidence of such diseases increases in rains. Dr Harbans Lal, Minister of State for Forests, Food and Civil Supplies, talked about this strategy at the inauguration of a vaccination fortnight of the Animal Husbandry Department in Fatehpur Ariya village under Bassi Pathana subdivision of the district today.

The minister said: “From May 24 to June 7, the department will vaccinate at least 2.5 lakh animals against haemorrigic septicemia (HS) and 1 lakh animals against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at reduced cost to farmers. Once the FMD sets in in animals, its treatment becomes costly and rather ineffective.”

The minister urged farmers to get their animals vaccinated against various diseases at the earliest. He said, in the 454 villages of the district, there were 89 teams of veterinary officials with adequate staff to complete the vaccination work.

Dr Sudesh Chopra, Deputy Director Animal Husbandry of Fatehgarh Sahib, said about 50 per cent of villagers depended on animals for earning their livelihood. He said, last year, 52,793 cows and 31,555 buffalos had been artificially inseminated.

The district has 47 hospitals and 42 dispensaries. For every five villages in the district, there is one veterinary institute.


CE remanded in police custody
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 24
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, yesterday remanded Baldev Singh, Chief Engineer, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, Punjab, in police custody till May 27. He was brought here from Patiala in connection with the JCB machines scam. He is already in judicial custody in connection with the JE recruitment scam and was brought here on a production warrant.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, Public Prosecutor, and Mr Jatinder Singh DSP (Vigilance), pleaded for police remand of 10 days. Mr Punn informed the court that the accused along with other accused has purchased 103 JCB machines for the Rural Development and Panchayat Department. He alleged that no committee was formed for this purpose and no quotations were taken.

Meanwhile, the court issued non-bailable warrants for May 30 of another accused, C.L. Premi, Deputy Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department. An application for his arrest was moved by the public prosecutor, Mr Punn.

These machines were purchased at the rate of Rs 13.24 lakh per machine whereas in Haryana they were purchased at the rate of Rs 10.35 lakh.

According to the FIR, the Punjab Government has suffered a loss of Rs 13.77 crore because of this purchase. 


Akalis to raise Amritsar shootout in Assembly

Jalandhar, May 24
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that his party legislators would raise the killing of six persons, including Akali leader Gurdial Singh, by unidentified persons in a shootout at Amritsar on Sunday last in the forthcoming Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha proposed from June 12.

“Our party would step up agitational methods if the present Congress government did not mend it’s ways,” the Akali Dal President told reporters here.

He charged the government with shielding Irrigation Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar saying that “Gurdial, who lost to Bhullar in the Assembly polls by a close margin, was facing threat from his political opponent.”

“Despite Gurdial’s repeated requests for providing him security apprehending danger to his life, the government withdrew his security,” he alleged. Mr Badal lambasted Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for giving a clean chit to his Cabinet colleague even when the investigation was underway into the Amritsar shootout. PTI


25 shops gutted

Amritsar, May 24
As many as 25 shops were gutted in the main vegetable market outside Hall Fate here today when he haystack suddenly caught fire, the police said.

Before the arrival of the fire tenders 25 fruit and vegetable shops in the market were reduced to ashes.

According to the vegetable market sources, fruits, vegetable and other equipments like juice machines worth more than Rs 50 lakh have been gutted in the fire.

The exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained, however, it is suspected that fire might have erupted from the smoking cigarette thrown on the dry haystack, the police said. PTI


Punjab War Museum to be modernised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
The Department of Defence Services Welfare, Punjab, has finalised a comprehensive plan for the expansion, modernisation and renovation of the “Punjab War Museum” at Ludhiana.

A decision in this regard was taken in a meeting held here today under the chairmanship of the Administrative Secretary of the Department, Mr K. B. S. Sidhu. The meeting was also attended by an eminent curator, Dr S.S. Biswas, who retired as Director-General of National Museum, New Delhi, and has currently been engaged by state government as Adviser for this project.

Mr Sidhu stated that the objective of the plan, which envisages an outlay of just Rs 50 lakh, is to ensure the optimal utilisation of the investment of Rs 2.90 crore which has already been made in the building, furnishings and the items displayed. The salient features of the new project include separate galleries devoted to Kargil operation, “Birth of a Nation: Bangladesh”, “NCC and Corps of Signals”. New sections relating to the pre-Independence wars are also being added, in addition to the role of the erstwhile princely states in World Wars I and II.

The museum is housed in an aesthetically designed double-storeyed building, situated on a campus of 4 acres, on National Highway No. 1 at Ludhiana. The building has a covered area of 14,400 square feet and has an independent basement. It boasts of a well-furnished conference hall and a well-stacked library, in addition to the 11 display galleries.

The entry ticket is just Rs 10, and includes the viewing of a professionally designed “light and sound programme”. Special concession is given to students and tourist groups.

The management of the museum is vested in an autonomous society promoted by the Punjab Government, which is headed by the Chief Minister himself. Efforts are under way to obtain sponsorships on commercial terms from leading business houses, to make more facilities and displays available, the Secretary said. The matter has also been taken up with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs and Archives, Punjab, for display of some rare items on loan.

Mr Sidhu also disclosed that retired officers of the Punjab Regiment would meet the Chief Minister at the museum on June 9 to discuss the dedication of an exclusive section in this museum to the exploits of this celebrated and most-decorated regiment of the Indian Army.

Others who attend the meeting included Brig K.S. Kahlon (retd.), Director, Sainik Welfare, and the District Sainik Welfare Officer Ludhiana, W. Cdr. M.S. Randhawa (retd).


Six injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 24
The local police has registered a case against five persons on the charge of manhandling Hari Singh, a constable in the local city police station, yesterday evening.

They have been identified as Madan Lal, Vipan Behal, Krishan, Bhola and Ramesh of the town.

According to the police reports, these persons came to the police station in connection with factional fight that took place between the two groups at the Banian Chowk yesterday night in which five persons were injured. They allegedly misbehaved with the constable.


PUDA grievance redress week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Allottees in the urban estates of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) have been given an opportunity for speedy redress of their grievances. Public grievances redress week will be held from May 27. Officials of the rank of Additional Chief Administrator have been deputed districtwise to examine the problems.

A spokesman of PUDA said Mrs Sonali Arora, Mrs Namita Sekhon, Mr J.S. Sekhon, Mr R.K. Arora and Mr Hardev Singh have been appointed observers for the Patiala, SAS Nagar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bathinda zones, respectively.

He said the Housing and Urban Development Minister, and the Vice-Chairman and Chief Administrator of PUDA, would make surprise visits to inspect the progress of the disposal of complaints. Against each grievance submitted to the PUDA, acknowledgement receipt would be issued by May 31.


Paash’s poetry comes alive
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 24
‘Udaas Pehar Ki Shan Shan’ a solo performance based on revolutionary poet Paash’s poetry was today presented at the Theatre and Television Department of Punjabi University. Staged at the department’s intimate auditorium, the solo was performed by Kulwant Sidhu, a second-year student at the Department of Theatre here and directed by Mr Ranvir Rana, a technical assistant in the same department. The thematic fibre of the play depicted the contemporary socio-political conditions and their consequent impact on the conscience of an individual, his frustrations and disgust for a system which seems to cater and exist only for the elite.

Giving the message through Paash’s poetry and attempting to bring alive the thoughts of poet, the whole fabric of the play, not only commented on the common man’s plight but also focussed on the essential question of existence of an individual in face of an atmosphere of insecurity, confusion, political opportunism, religious fundamentalism and corruption. Although written decades ago, the poems managed to correlate the poet’s times with the present.

Kulwant Sidhu’s sensitive portrayal of a poet desperately seeking answers from a relatively passive common man and realistic acting made the one-hour performance a treat for the audience.

Intelligent direction by Mr Rana made sure that the performance did not turn out to be a monotonous poetry recital session but a spellbinding performance treating the audience not only with some of Paash’s best poetry but also an interesting script with delicately-handled verse and fractured prose.

Sans costumes, music and any set, ‘Udaas Pehar ki Shan Shan’ proved that a powerful script accompanied with good acting and sensitive handling of the theme could do wonders to an almost nil-budget production. 


Lawyers to continue dharna
Our Correspondent

Moga, May 24
An emergency meeting of the members of the local Bar Association was held here on Friday. The lawyers decided to continue their indefinite dharna against the local police officials. The lawyers alleged that the policemen had beaten up an advocate, Mr Atma Ram.


Employees fight over generation allowance
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, May 24
The generation allowance paid to thermal plants by the PSEB has become a bone of contention between employees working in generation and distribution wings. While the former are holding meetings to resist the government move to stop the generation allowance, the latter held a meeting today and urged the government to stop it.

As many as hundred employees of the distribution wing said the cash-starved PSEB was paying crores annually as generation allowance to thermal plant employees. Generating electricity was the duty of the employees posted in the thermal plants and they should not be given any allowance.

Mr Gursharan Singh from the distribution wing, said the extra benefit paid to the generation employees was creating resentment among the distribution employees.

In a letter to the Chairman, PSEB, the distribution employees maintained that they were ready to work in the Ropar Thermal Plant without any allowance. They said they were willing to forfeit transportation allowance if they were transferred to the thermal plant.

Generation allowance is an incentive paid to the employees for attaining optimum generation. The minimum generation capacity of the plant has been fixed at about 80 per cent of the installed capacity. However, if the generation exceeds it, the employees are given generation allowance.

Sources said the employees generally get about 12 to 14 day’s extra basic pay per month as generation allowance.


Missing man found murdered
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 24
Panic gripped residents of Basti Bawa Khel and its adjoining localities when the body of Parveen Kumar, who was missing since yesterday night was today found lying in a pool of blood in the fields at Waryana village near here.

Mr Iqbal Singh, Sarpanch of Waryana village, informed the police that an unidentified body was lying in the fields of one Inder Singh of the same village. Subsequently, the police reached the spot and later identified the body as that of Parveen Kumar of Katehrra Mohalla.

Meanwhile, the father of Parveen, Sant Ram, alleged that his son was having marital dispute with his wife for quite some time. He further said one Sonu along with his two accomplices came to their house at 9 p.m. yesterday and asked Parveen to accompany them. When their son failed to return back till next morning, Sat Ram lodged a complaint with the police.

Perturbed over the failure of the district police to control the ever increasing crime in the city the IG (Jalandhar Zone), Mr S.K. Sharma, has convened an emergency meeting of the district police officials to take stock of the situation. He reportedly warned the police officials to be vigilant and any laxity on their part would not be tolerated. The meeting was reportedly attended by the SSP, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, and other senior police officials.


Gang of vehicle thieves arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 24
The Moga police has arrested three members of a gang who used to steal vehicles from Mumbai and sell them in different parts of Punjab.

This was stated in a press note issued today. Those arrested have been identified as Baljeet Singh, alias Sonu, a resident of Badala Kalan village and now residing at CPD Kokan Bhavan at New Mumbai; Sukhdev Singh of Dhand and Balwinder Singh of Dhottian. All these villages are in Amritsar district.

The leader of the gang, Baljeet Singh had connections with some persons residing in Mumbai. He stole vehicles from there and after changing their registration numbers used to sell the same in Punjab. The other two accused, Balwinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh, worked as ‘salesmen’ of Baljeet Singh here.

The accused in order to dodge the unsuspecting customers told them that the registration and other papers of the vehicle sold to them would be given later. Once they collected the amount from the customer, they never returned back.

Baljeet Singh had absconded from Mehta police station in Amritsar district in 1999 where he was arrested for committing some crime. He has been declared a proclaimed offender by the Mumbai police. Two case had been registered against him under Section 379 of the IPC for stealing vehicles at Navi Mumbai police station.

The three accused were arrested when they were travelling in three stolen vehicles. Two Jeeps have been recovered from the possession of Baljeet Singh and Sukhdev Singh. A truck was recovered from the possession of Balwinder Singh.

During interrogation they reportedly confessed to having stolen the vehicles. The police recovered a truck and a Jeep information about which was given by the accused during interrogation.

A case has been registered against them under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC at Mehna police station.


Currency dealer robbed
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 24
The police is still groping in the dark about the daring attack on a city-based foreign currency dealer, who was shot at and injured by four car-borne armed robbers. These robbers had decamped after looting foreign currency worth Rs 32 lakh from the businessman on Thursday night in a busy locality opposite the local Doordarshan.

The foreign money dealer Arjan was admitted to a local hospital in a serious condition as he was hit by two bullets fired by the assailants when he resisted them.

The police has laid nakas all around to nab the culprits. It was not first such crime in the city involving looting of money, which had witnessed a broad daylight bank robbery in a bank in the Model House area earlier this month, when the dacoits had looted an amount of Rs 16.5 lakh. The police has failed to nab the dacoits so far.

In the last night's incident five car-borne robbers, followed Arjan Dass, a money dealer of Nahurian Bazaar, while he was returning to his Udham Singh Nagar residence on his scooter along with his servant at around 8 pm. Robbers, cornered Arjan Dass and his servant after knocking down their scooter with their car. Three of five robbers alighted from the car and tried to snatch the bag containing foreign currency worth Rs 32 lakh. When he resisted the effort, assailants fired two shots at Arjan Dass, leaving him injured, and fled away with the cash.


Woman killed by husband: protesters
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 24
The case pertaining to the gangrape and murder of a 28-year-old woman at Alawalpur village, near here, on Wednesday night took a new turn when hundreds of villagers and parents of the deceased today blocked traffic at Nehru Garden Chowk in protest against the failure of the police to arrest the husband of the victim.

They alleged that the police was shielding the husband, who, according to them, had said that his wife had been abducted on Wednesday night. Her body was found near the village.

They alleged that Teeta, husband of the victim, had murdered his wife for not bringing enough dowry. “My sister was always forced by Teeta to bring valuable things from her parents’ house, failing which she was thrashed. Teeta’s younger brother is also involved in this killing. It was very difficult for our family to fulfil the demands of Teeta,” Prem, brother of the deceased, alleged.

The agitators raised anti-police slogans and demanded the suspension of the SHO of Adampur police station for “shielding” the culprits. They said though they had been complaining about the involvement of Teeta in the case, the police had failed to register a case.

Senior police officials, including the SP, reached the spot and assured them that a case would be registered.

“The police had handed over the body of my sister to her in-laws who cremated her in a hurry without waiting for us. The police is in fact trying to hush up the matter,” Prem said.

Meanwhile, the traffic was disrupted for over two hours before the agitators assembled in front of the SSP’s office to stage a dharna there. The SSP was not available for comments.


Man poisons self, 2 children to death
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 24
In a tragic incident in the local Adarsh Nagar mohalla last evening Baljit Avasthi, fed up with poverty, not only ended his life but also poisoned to death his son, Rajat (6) and daughter Vishali (4).

Mamta, wife of Baljit, told the police that her husband was working with a halwai and found it very difficult to run his house on his monthly salary. Because of this, he used to remain tense.

She said about 4 p.m. yesterday when she was away from home, Baljit came to the house and after mixing Celphos with sugar gave the mixture to both children and also consumed it himself. All three fell unconscious after consumption of the mixture and rushed to the local Civil Hospital where the doctors declared them dead.

The incident sent a shock wave among the residents of the locality. A case has been registered.


Lovers commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 24
Close on the heels of suicide by two sisters, Rajni Bala and Jaswinder Kaur, here last night, another case of double suicide was reported here today. A married woman, Kashmir Kaur, who was having a love affair with a relative, Sandeep, died on consuming Celphos tablets along with her paramour. Both booked a room at the local Blue Bell Restaurant this morning.

However, they were found in a state of breathlessness in the afternoon and were rushed to the local Civil Hospital where they died, one after the other. They belonged to Samradi village.

Kashmir Kaur had four children and had married twice. She fell in love with Sandeep and both took the extreme step as they failed to enter wedlock. A case has been registered under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Earlier, a teenaged girl Rajni of the local Gobindpura mohalla and her married sister Jaswinder had committed suicide last night here after Rajni’s lover Ravinder of Shivpuri and the latter’s mother Surinder Kaur had turned down Jaswinder’s proposal for the marriage of Rajni and Ravinder. Both cases of suicide have shocked the people of this area.


Three booked in dowry case

Tarn Taran, May 24
The police has booked three members of a family under Sections 498A and 406 of the IPC. They are Manjit Singh (husband), Sohan Singh (father-in-law) and Sawarn Kaur (mother-in-law of Harbhajan Kaur.

The victim, lodging the complaint with the police alleged that she was being tortured for bringing inadequate dowry.


Three murder accused arrested
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 24
The Rajpura police today arrested three of the six persons accused of murdering Sharandip Singh of Delhi while he was travelling on the Rajpura-Ambala highway on May 20. Sharandip Singh was repeatedly stabbed by the accused.

Those arrested are Anurag, Avtar Singh and Rohit Sood. While Anurag and Avtar Singh were arrested on May 22, Rohit Sood was nabbed on May 23. It was informed that the murder weapon was found with Anurag. The accused are presently in police remand.

Police parties have been dispatched to Delhi, Ludhiana and Patiala and raids are being conducted at different places to nab the rest of the accused. 


Opium seized from former YC leader
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 24
The police has arrested former General Secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Varinder Kumar Yadav, and recovered 400 grams of opium from him.

He is the son of a former president of the District Congress Committee, Mr Brij Lal Yadav. He confessed before the police that he had purchased 2 kg of opium and had sold 1.6 kg of opium to his “customers”.

The police has registered a case against him under the NDPS Act.

He was produced today in the court which sent him in police remand. 


ASI arrested
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 24
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested Assistant Sub Inspector Ajmer Singh posted at Civil Lines police station while accepting a bribe of Rs 3000 from Jaspal Singh, a resident of Amritsar. Mr T.P. Singh, Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) said that the ASI was arrested after seeking consent of the district police chief.

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