Saturday, June 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tension build up as ZP poll nears
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Malout, May 31
Tension has started building up in this region in view of the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections, polling for which will be held on June 9.

Though no incident of violence was reported from any block of Muktsar and Faridkot districts during the filing of nomination papers and their scrutiny subsequently, yet the atmosphere remained surcharged in the office of returning officers as SAD workers levelled allegations that incomplete nomination forms of Congress candidates were being accepted while complete forms of SAD candidates were being rejected on flimsy grounds.

Mr Babbi Badal, a senior SAD functionary, pointed out that party workers had been apprehending danger as they had witnessed large-scale violence during the recently held Malout Assembly by-election, which was ‘engineered by the Congress rank and file”.

Manjeet Kaur, a resident of Tehsil Malout, alleged that papers of Ajmer Kaur were accepted for the Bham Panchayat Samiti elections despite the fact that she had mentioned a wrong vote number in that form.

She alleged that on the contrary in other cases where the vote number was wrong the papers had been rejected.

Mr Jaswant Singh Cheema, Returning Officer, clarified that the wrong vote number was due to a clerical mistake. However, what is intriguing is that how could a clerical mistake take place when the nomination form was filled by the candidate herself.

The SAD workers alleged that the Returning Officer of Faridkot, Mr Mukhtiar Singh, asked all people to go out of his room when he started the scrutiny of nomination papers and allowed only Mr Avtar Brar, a former Congress minister, to sit in the room. However, Mr Mukhtiar Singh said Mr Brar came to him for some personal work and added that the scrutiny was being done as per the norms.

Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, MLA, Faridkot, alleged that of the three nominations for three zila parishad seats, the returning officers concerned had rejected one nomination and of the 21 nominations for panchayat samiti seats, six nominations had been rejected on flimsy grounds.

He alleged that since false cases had been registered against a number of SAD workers, who were supposed to contest these elections, in the past two days, the party had to change its nominees at the last moment.

Meanwhile, a former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Badal, today toured Muktsar and Faridkot districts to meet workers in connection with the coming panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections.


Parishad poll: police told to be vigilant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
As in the wake of the recent murders in Bhikhiwind ( Amritsar) and Midu Khera( Muktsar) the conduct of the elections to zila parishads and block samitis has become a difficult task, the government authorities concerned have alerted the police to be extra vigilant in the state. Campaigning for these elections, for which polling will be held on June 9, has started in various parts of the state.

Seemingly, tension has started building up between Akali and Congress activists following the murders. While the Congress leadership has said that the reasons behind these gory incidents were old enmity and local disputes, the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has termed these as a planned attack on Akali activists at the behest of Congress leaders in the rural areas.

The authorities have been told to increase police patrolling in the politically sensitive areas and also make extra security arrangements where trouble can be expected because of the elections. The State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, said that he had asked the Home Department to ensure a peaceful atmosphere on the polling day. Proper security arrangements should be made in the politically sensitive areas.

He said the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) had been appointed returning officer in the case of the zila parishad elections in each district and SDMs and Class-I officers in the case of block samitis. To ensure a free and fair poll, in each district two IAS officers had been appointed election observers.

The government had been directed not to transfer any official on poll duty till June 10. Mr Bains said that he would visit various districts from Monday to check the poll arrangements. He would also hear complaints, if any, he added. The main contest at most places will be between the SAD and the Congress. It is going to be one of the biggest election exercises in the state after the Assembly poll in February this year.


Stage set for Zila Parishad poll
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 31
The stage is set for a direct confrontation between the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the Zila Parishad and the Block Samiti elections to be held on June 9.

Buoyed by the tremendous response for the anti-corruption drive launched by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Congress is expected to reap handsome reward in the elections.

For three zones — Mubarikpur, Bhankharpur and Lalru — of Zila Parishad, 15 candidates are in the fray, while 84 candidates have filed their candidatures for 20 zones of Block Samiti.

A maximum number of seven candidates have filed their nominations from the Bhankharpur zone for the Zila Parishad elections. Four candidates have filed their nominations from the Mubarikpur zone and four from Lalru.

Those who filed their nominations from the Bhankharpur zone for Zila Parishad include Mr Kuljit Singh, Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Raghubir Singh, Mr Bhal Singh, Mr Basant Singh and Mr Naresh Paul. While, Mr Harmesh Kumar, Mr Jagtar Singh, Mr Gurmeet Singh and Mr Manohar Singh, today submitted their nomination papers from the Lalru zone to the Returning Officer. This zone is reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates.

There would be an interesting contest among four women candidates for in Mubarikpur zone that is reserved for women candidates. From this zone, Ms Kusum Lata, Ms Raksha Rani, Ms Baljit Kaur and Ms Chander Kanta, have jumped into the Zila Parishad elections.

Apart from the Congress and SAD, the BSP and the CPM have also fielded their candidates in the forthcoming elections.

The Returning Officer (RO) and the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhindsa, today cancelled the candidature of Mr Gurcharan Singh, a SAD candidate, who had filed his nomination from Handesra zone for the Block Samiti elections, for not submitting the necessary documents in time.

Over the issue Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary of SAD and sitting MLA, and Ms Sheelam Sohi, a Congress candidate who had lost the Assembly elections from Banur constituency recently, also exchanged arguments over the issue for over two hours.


No stay for removed PCS officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
In just over a week after the Punjab Government decided to either revert or dispense with the services of certain PCS officers, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today refused to stay the operation of the orders in this regard.

After hearing the arguments in the case for over three hours today, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Bakhshish Kaur, observed: “We are not inclined to stay the orders.”

Arguing before the Bench, counsel for the petitioners had earlier alleged discrimination. Giving details, they had argued that out of 4,000 candidates selected, only 46 had been affected. While 18 had been reverted, 28 direct recruits had been thrown out. None of the officers selected in the Judicial Branch of the PCS, or in the allied services, had been proceeded against.

Additional Solicitor-General R.N Trivedi, on the other hand, refuted the allegations. He claimed that other officers too would be proceeded against as and when relevant information was received by the government. He had earlier claimed that the entire selection was vitiated and had added that the government had acted on the basis of reliable evidence after giving due consideration to the matter.

In their petitions, filed in less than a week after the Punjab government decided to dispense with their services, the PCS officers had sought directions for quashing the orders issued on May 23 in this regard. In one such petition, Surinder Kaur had claimed that an independent agency had not been appointed for looking into the allegations. Her counsel had added that neither money was paid, nor was any kind of influence used.

In another such petition, Paramjit Singh had termed the order “colourable exercise of power” and “stigmatic”. His counsel had added that it could not have been passed without conducting an inquiry into the allegations or giving the petitioner an opportunity of explaining his position.

Bail plea

Taking up a petition for the grant of bail filed by Surinder Kaur, accused of being contacted by PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu for sending money abroad, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents for July 15.

The accused was arrested on April 18 in FIR registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the prosecution, Sidhu had told the petitioner and her husband that Rs 50 lakh had to be sent to his brother in the USA. The same amount was also to be deposited in his bank account abroad.

Seeking the grant of bail, her counsel had contended that the accused was being falsely implicated in the case. He had added that there were no allegations against the petitioner or her husband that they had connived with Sidhu or any other accused.

Plea on films

Disturbed by alleged distortion of history, relatives of martyr Bhagat Singh on Friday filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Union of India and other respondents against screening the films assassinating the “national hero’s character”.

In their petition taken up by the Bench headed by Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta, nieces and nephews of Bhagat Singh claimed that in a movie a heroine was shown as the martyr’s fiancee. The two were shown as dancing. In another movie he was shown as wearing a garland. This, they asserted, was against the facts. “Bhagat Singh had refused to marry. The only agenda in his life was freedom of motherland,” the petitioners had added.

In another movie, Chander Shekhar Azad was shot by a fellow revolutionist though he had shot himself, Captain Sandeep Bansal had argued on behalf of the petitioners. He had also sought directions for staying the screening of all films on Bhagat Singh yet to be released. After hearing the arguments and going through the record, the Bench issued notice of motion on the petition for June 12.

Online lottery

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Bakhshish Kaur, today refused to stay the finalisation of bids for online lottery in state of Punjab.

The judges observed that a senior Deputy Advocate General, appearing for the state of Punjab, had produced a comparative chart giving details of the bids by various organisations and after going through the information they “did not consider it proper to stay the finalisation of the bids”. The judges also directed that the written statement in the case should be filed within five weeks, while application, if any, should be submitted with 10 days.


PCMS doctors hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Condemning the move of the Punjab Government to terminate the services of all doctors recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) under the chairmanship of Ravi Sidhu, the PCMS Association organised a protest dharna in front of the office of the Director of Health Services here today.

Describing the decision of termination of services as a big blow to the rights of employees, members of the association, including Dr Hardeep Singh, Dr Surinder Singla and Dr Ajay Jagga, held that reducing the PCMS cadre by 20 per cent would hit medical care in the state. They opposed the move of the government to withdraw NPA, maintaining that such an action would lead to the total commercialisation of the medical services as a result of which health care would go out of the reach of the common man.

The other PCMS Association headed by Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa has also expressed similar views.

Dr Randhawa said the association was in touch with other organisations of employees, including the PCS Officers (Executive Branch) Association, and, if necessary, would launch a statewide agitation.


PPSC chief’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 31
The judicial remand of Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Chairman, Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), and an accused in the PPSC recruitment scam, was today extended by Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar, till tomorrow.

The Special Judge also adjourned the bail application of Mr Sidhu till tomorrow for further arguments. Meanwhile the Special Judge extended the judicial remand of Ms Surinder Kaur Manchanda, another accused in the case, who was allegedly involved in sending the money of Mr Sidhu outside the country through hawala till June 15.

Meanwhile, Mr Maghar Khan, Sessions Judge, Ropar, adjourned the anticipatory bail application of Mr R. Venkatratnam, IAS former Director of the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats Department, to June 4 and stayed the arrest of Mr Venkatratnam till then.


Varsity axe falls on two IT institutes
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 31
Axe has finally fallen on the controversial Information Technology Institutes, which were touted as vehicles for taking Punjabi University into the new millennium by the ousted vice-chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, with the varsity authorities holding both campus-based Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology (MRSIIT) and the Damdama Sahib-based Guru Gobind Singh Institute of Information and Technology (GGSIIT), as illegal entities.

In a damning judgement relating to the institutes, the new dispensation in the university has come to the conclusion that both institutes did not fulfil the criterion for recognition by the government. Accordingly it has been decided that action should be taken against them according to government norms.

The move, which is likely to affect a number of students, including about 400 of the MRSIIT, today resulted in students of the MRSIIT gathering on the campus and going for a sit in outside the institute, besides pasting posters demanding justice.

Both institutes, which were run by private companies, had been given infrastructure at the campus here and at the Damdama Sahib Regional Centre in Bathinda district. While the campus institute offered IT courses, the one at Damdama Sahib was functioning as a distance education centre and claimed to be running 150 study centres in the country offering Information Technology courses.

According to sources, the university management has indicted Dr Ahluwalia for going in for collaboration with private parties which according to it is against the university laws. Dr Ahluwalia had collaborated with a private company G Cat for the MRSIIT and with KCC for the GGSIIT. It had been revealed that the university Syndicate was misinformed about the setting up of the institutes with permission being taken earlier to open an IT department at the university.

Following this, the sources said, when there was mild response for opening of institutes except on the varsity campus, the former VC allowed a private party to open distance education centres for IT courses, which was totally against the norms. They said even though the University Grants Commission had clearly stated that no varsity could enter into an agreement with a private company on its campus, the former VC offered university infrastructure to G CAT for starting its IT courses and tried to camouflage the issue by forming a committee to manage the institute which was headed by him. However, it had been revealed on inquiry that the institute was run by the private company with the varsity having no check on its accounts or appointment of staff.

According to the university authorities only Punjab Technical University could give recognition for professional courses. They said any agreement with any private company could not be done in this light and that the only way out for the companies was to take recognition from the PTU. The university had also cancelled affiliation of all colleges and institutes who were running the MCA course on the same pattern and had asked them not to hold any entrance test for the same.


Langah’s aides linked with Dawood
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
After the expose of the links of a former PWD Minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langah with a former militant, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau is learnt to have got vital information about the links of people “close” to the former minister with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Questioning of the people “close” to the minister is said to have revealed startling facts about laundering of money through hawala channels across the world. The profits earned from properties amassed by the minister was invested by members of the underworld mafia in shipping industry.

Sources in the Vigilance Bureau said the minister used to stay at a seaside palatial bungalow of a Ludhiana-based industrialist in Mumbai. The industrialist, Madan Singh Bharara, who is into manufacturing cycle parts is said to be a former driver of the late underwold don Haji Mastan. Another Ludhiana-based businessman Subash Jain, is said to be the person who established a link with the former minister to Madan Singh Bharara.

Subash Jain, who was investigated today after arrest warrants were issued against him is said to have revealed how bags full of money were taken to Mumbai.

The minister reportedly offered to give 630 acres in the border area to Madan Singh Bharara in lieu of the obligations taken from the latter. A major share of the profits earned from properties of the minister was said to have been pumped in different trades. The possibility of the members of the gang of Dawood Ibrahim, enjoying the hospitality of the minister while in Punjab is not being ruled out by the Vigilance sleuths.

The sources said the role of the former minister in facilitating the surrender of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal had come under scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the bail application of the former minister would come up for hearing in a Ropar court tomorrow.


Benami vehicles of Langah seized
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 31
Mrs Preeti Sahni, Judicial Magistrate, here today remanded Gurbachan Pal Singh, alias Vicky who was reportedly working as private assistant to Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD Minister, Punjab, in police custody till June 3.

Meanwhile, according to information the police has taken into possession many tippers and other vehicles which were purchased in benami deals by Mr Langah. According to information the police has taken into possession 16 tippers, two machines, two tractor-trailors a trolley and a tanker from Tangori village a machine worth about Rs 37 lakh from the same village a delux bus from Solkhian village. According to information all these vehicles were purchased by Mr Langah in benami deals.


Jaswant Singh installed Golden Temple granthi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 31
Even as Giani Jaswant Singh was installed as granthi (high priest), Golden Temple, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today flayed the state government for allegedly promoting certain “anti-Sikh” organisations and sought an immediate ban on the activities of “self-styled babas” who were out to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state.

The appointment of Giani Jaswant Singh was approved by the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and representatives of various Sikh organisations, including Singh sabhas who presented him “siropas” and turbans during his installation.

An unsavoury incident occurred when a few leaders belonging to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, staged a walkout from the meeting of the representatives of the Singh sabhas, called by the SGPC, when they were not allowed to speak on the occasion.

Mr Jagjit Singh Gaba, president, SHSAD, Jalandhar unit, and chairman of the Singh sabhas, who was among nine others, including Mr Kanwaljit Singh, president, Singh Sabha, Butan village, Mr Bahadur Singh, senior vice-president, Singh Sabha, Gurdwara Nauwin Patshahi, Mr Ranbir Singh Jaura, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Arewale and Mr Parmjit Singh, alleged that the SGPC had no locus standi to give call to launch a drive against drugs and “patitpuna” (apostate) as many relatives of the SGPC office-bearers/members were “patit”. He said recently one of the SGPC members was caught by the police with poppy husk. Mr Gaba said he wanted to highlight all these points but was not given time by the stage secretary for obvious reasons.

Meanwhile, SGPC representatives of Singh sabhas decided to launch a drive against the use of intoxicants, liquor and the increasing trend of apostate.

Among those who spoke on the occasion were Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib.


Bhikhiwind killings: two more arrested
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 31
With the arrest of two more persons the Tarn Tarn police today achieved a breakthrough in the case of murder of Akali leader Gurdial Singh and five others in border town of Bhikhiwind on May 19.

Though the name of Bikramjit Singh, who was arrested along with his cousin, Inderjit Singh, on their way to a religious ‘dera’, near Tarn Taran, did not figure in the FIR, lodged by the brother of the deceased yet investigations have revealed his involvement in the sensational murder which has already put the Congress Government in the spot. Interestingly, no one knew that Bikramjit Singh had come from the UAE two months before the killings.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, Tarn Taran, confirmed that two arrests had been made and the weapons and vehicle used in the crime were likely to be recovered soon. He said three more accused, including, Surjit Singh, Jassa and Bakshish Singh involved in the crime were still at large while two persons had surrendered in a court at Patti last week. He said the involvement of another person Devinder Singh in the crime was also being investigated though his name also did not figure in the FIR.

Though the police did not rule out the use of AK-47 in the crime, yet. 303 and 7.61 rifles were reportedly used in the killings. One of the weapons used in the crime was bought from a former Colonel Army Kulwant Singh, a local resident by Jassa.


Councillors seek vigilance probe
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 31
Supporting the anti-corruption drive launched by the state government and demanding a vigilance inquiry into benami tenders and other corruption cases pertaining to the local municipal council, Mr Basant Bhatia and Mr Krishan Kumar Garg, both municipal councillors belonging to the BJP today raised slogans against the president of the council.

Mr Garg and Mr Bhatia alleged that the president of the council, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, was not functioning democratically. They said at today’s meeting more than 20 resolutions (points) were passed in just five minutes of working while their genuine demands regarding the functioning of the council were not heard by the president.

Mr Garg said Mr Bhullar had earlier cleared many improper tenders but when the Audit Department raised objections the amount of tenders was reduced. He said it was the Audit Department which saved crores of rupees of the council and he had demanded that the details of all such tenders be placed on the floor of the House. He had also demanded that the details of contracts which had been given at full rates and those given at competitive rates should be made available to all councillors explaining why some tenders were given at full rates. He said Mr Bhullar listened to none of his demands.

Interestingly, both councillors had approached the district administration and the police authorities last evening and today as well apprehending danger to their lives and following which some police personnel were deployed at their places. Mr Garg and Mr Bhatia alleged that the president and 13 councillors who met here at a hotel last evening had planned to manhandle him.

Mr Garg alleged that six women councillors were taken into confidence by Mr Bhullar and they were asked to manhandle him at today’s meeting. Mr Garg and Mr Bhatia raised slogans demanding the dissolution of the House and a vigilance probe into the affairs of the council. Mr Bhullar said Mr Garg reached the House late and the meeting had ended by that time. He said of the 22 resolutions passed today every single item was read out to the members and passed by 19 out of 21 councillors. He denied having conspired to manhandle the two councillors and added that they were misleading the people and the senior administrative officials. The Deputy Commissioner and other senior officials had been informed about these developments he said.


Motorcycle patrol squad formed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 31
The Ropar police today formed a motorcycle patrol squad to keep vigil round the clock on the national highway from Ropar Headworks to SAS Nagar. The squad will help accident victims and contribute in preventing crimes on this route.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, flagged off the first squad comprising three motorcyclists from the mini-secretariat here this morning.

The SSP said members of the squad had been equipped with first aid box, special emergency hooter and walkie-talkie sets. The highway route from Ropar to SAS Nagar had been divided into three zones namely Ropar to Banmajra village, Banmajra village to Khanpur Chowk near Kharar, and Khanpur Chowk to Balongi barrier near SAS Nagar, the SSP added.

Mr Bhullar said the members of the squad had been trained for taking accident victims to the nearby hospitals. He said the squad would have a direct link with telephone number 100 of the police control room.

He said the squad would also keep vigil on vehicles violating speed limits and drivers driving under the influence of liquor.


AIATF sends volunteers to MoD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 31
The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) has sent a list of 1,800 activists to the Ministry of Defence who are ready to sacrifice their lives in the fight against the “proxy war” of Pakistan.

Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, chief of AIATF, said he himself was ready to be a “human bomb” for the purpose.

Mr Bitta said due to the continuous “mischievous” acts of Pakistan, the Government of India should take decisive steps to declare an open war. He said as a first step, India should destroy militant camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, adding that activists of the AIATF were ready to undergo arms training for the purpose.

Mr Bitta said a rally would be organised in front of the US Embassy on Monday in which widows of Kargil heroes would also participate.

He asked the USA to give up double standards on militancy and support India for waging a war against cross-border terrorism. He said the AIATF would also send a memorandum to the UN for declaring Pakistan a terrorist country.


‘Doctor’ gets 1-year RI
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), May 31
The local Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate has sentenced Gurmail Singh Ghai, who was practising as a doctor, to one-year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 500. The judgement holds significance as more than 100 quacks and unregistered “doctors” are said to be practising in the district alone, posing as qualified doctors.

According to the copy of the judgement delivered on May 23, a copy of which was procured by The Tribune today, Ghai, practising at a shop here, was found guilty of cheating people by posing as a qualified doctor. The accused was running his clinic from a shop near the bus stand and had installed signboards reading, “Ghai Hospital, Talwandi Sabo”, to attract patients.

The complainant, Mr Avtar Singh, had alleged that he was suffering from high fever and diarrhoea on September 14, 1999, and had approached Ghai for treatment. Ghai charged him Rs 180 and gave him some medicines, besides administering an injection. However, even after getting treatment from Ghai, he did not recover.

However, Ghai termed the allegations levelled against him as false and made with mala fide intention. He alleged that an FIR had been registered against him at the behest of Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, whose wife was running a private clinic in the town. He added that the complainant was the son of the driver of Dr Sidhu.

Ghai claimed that he was holding a registration certificate under the Ayurvedic system of medicine and was fully authorised to practise the Allopathic system of medicine also. He added that after the case was registered against him he had left the medical practice.

However, during investigations it was found that Ghai had no licence to practise the Allopathic system of medicine. He was also not registered with the Punjab Pharmacy Council, but still gave medicines and posed as a qualified doctor.

Mr Harsh Mehta, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, in his judgement said, “After hearing the convict on the quantum of sentence and considering his submission, it is proper to take a lenient view against him as he has left the practice. The judge sentenced him to one-year rigorous imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 500 for having committed an offence under Section 420 of IPC and one-year rigorous imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 500 for having committed an offence under Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act. Both sentences would run concurrently and the convict would have to further undergo one-month rigorous imprisonment if he failed to deposit the fines of Rs 500 each.


Cobwebs in yarn mill
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
Even as the Punjab Government has not been taking an interest to revive Bathinda Cooperative Spinning Mill (Bacospin) which has been lying closed for the past nine months, its employees, who have not been paid their monthly wages by the authorities concerned for the past seven months, have threatened to launch an agitation shortly.

Set up at a cost of Rs 30 crore with the aid of the World Bank, the mill machinery imported from Germany and the USA has started gathering dust and if the mill is not started within reasonable time, the machinery will become non-functional.

Official sources said Bacospin was commissioned in 1992 and was closed in 2001 when the authorities concerned found it difficult to run it in profit due to repeated increase in overhead expenses on the one hand and on the other the margin in yarn manufacturing remained static.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Iqbal Singh, president of the Bacospin Staff Welfare Association, said about 500 employees had not been getting their wages for the past seven months. He added that the employees had been finding it difficult to make both ends meet. He alleged that an official of the mill had been taking his salaries regularly.

He added that the next meeting of the association would be held on May 31 and if the authorities concerned failed to take some steps in connection with the payment of salaries of the employees, they would launch an agitation.


SYL canal: govt to go by SC verdict
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 31
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has said the Congress will sweep the panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections scheduled for June 9. Talking to mediapersons here today, he claimed that the Congress would repeat its performance in the municipal corporation poll.

He said there would be no change in the quota of seats reserved for women as well as for SC and BC categories. Regarding the SYL canal issue, he said that the state government would obey the directive issued by the Supreme Court.

He said plots would be provided to migrants of relief camps at Narot Jaimal Singh.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Khushaal Bahl, Mr R.S. Puri and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa.


Captain cremated with honours

Jalandhar, May 31
The mortal remains of Capt Satnam Singh Parmar, who was killed in Dras sector of Jammu and Kashmir during Pakistan firing, were consigned to the flames with full military and police honours at his native village Kaki near here.

The body of the martyr was taken from his residence to the nearby cremation ground in procession and was accompanied by thousands of people who raised slogans, “Shaheed Satnam Singh amar rahe” and “General Musharraf murdabad”.

Lt-Col Avtar Singh Parmar, father of the martyr, lit the pyre. Ms Daljit Kaur, widow of the Captain, who was carrying her three-month-old son, was inconsolable. A guard of honour by the Army was given to the departed soul after laying the Tricolor on his body.

A police contingent fired in the air as a mark of respect to the martyr.

Senior Army, administrative and police officials, besides local politicians, were present at the funeral. PTI


Ultrasound centre raided
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 31
A team comprising Dr Janak Raj Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Mansa, Dr Monika Singla, Medical Officer, Mr Jasbir Singh, Deputy Mass Education Officer, Mansa, and Dr Ajaib Singh Sandhu, Deputy Director, Health Services, Punjab, conducted a raid on the premises of Ms Rajindra Ultrasound and X-Ray Centre here today and seized an unregistered ultrasound machine.

Stating this to mediapersons here today, Dr Sandhu said the diagnostic centre had two ultrasound machines of which one was registered with the department. At the time of the raid, the unregistered machine was in operation. He said a complaint under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Act, 1994, would be filed against Ms Rita Garg, proprietor of the centre, on Monday in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.


Former MP alleges harassment
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 31
A former MP, Mr Atinder Pal Singh, yesterday wrote to the Governor, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob, in the wake of confiscation of his passport even as he has been invited by the World Sikh Council to deliver the key note lecture in June in Canada.

At a press conference yesterday, the former MP alleged that the state police, which is conducting an inquiry, was subjecting him to harassment and forcing his neighbours to record statements against him. He said passport authorities had failed to give him any concrete reason for the confiscation of his passport.


NRI murder accused denied bail

Moga, May 31
A local court has rejected the bail application of a non-resident Indian (NRI) charged with the murder of a Canadian girl in 1986.

Sessions Judge J.S. Chawla yesterday rejected the bail application of NRI Raghbir Singh Gill who was arrested by the Punjab Police with help from Interpol in connection with the murder of a Canadian citizen, Rupinder Kaur Sanghera, on August 25, 1986. Gill had allegedly escaped from Canada after committing the crime and was arrested by police in April this year. PTI


Youth SAD leader refused bail

Moga, May 31
District and Sessions Judge Jagmohan Singh Chawla today rejected the bail petition of senior Shiromani Akali Dal youth wing leader Nadharak Singh in the 18-year-old university question papers theft case.

He was arrested on May 13 this year on the charge of stealing question papers and answer sheets of the university from Government College, Rode, in the district on April 1, 1984.


Forum moved against dental college
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 31
Ms Jagjit Kaur, Ms Manmeet Kaur and Ms Maninderjit Kaur, all residents of Ludhiana, who had deposited Rs 2 lakh each with Mr Naginder Singh Harika, Managing Director, Khalsa Rural Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan, for seeking admission to the college today filed complaints with the District Consumer disputes. Redressal Forum, Mansa, for a compensation of Rs 4.25 lakh including the money deposited.

In the complaint they alleged that Mr Harika did not gave them admission to the college despite charging Rs 2 lakh each from them an July 2000.


DC recommends action against SMO, staff
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 31
Mr Rakesh K. Verma, Deputy Commissioner, has recommended to the health authorities immediate disciplinary action against Dr Jaspal Singh, SMO in charge, Community Health Centre, Tibba village in Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision, Dr Gurinder Singh, Mr Sat Paul, pharmacist and Darshan Singh, ward attendant, all posted at the centre for dereliction of duty.

In a press note today, Mr Verma said residents of Tibba village had lodged a complaint with him against the staff for their negligence in treating Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Tibba who was brought to the health centre for treatment.

Following protests by residents of the village, the Deputy Commissioner had directed the Civil Surgeon to inquire into the circumstances leading to the death of Harbhajan Singh who deputed his Deputy Medical Commissioner, Civil Hospital, to conduct the inquiry.

Mr Verma said the preliminary report submitted to him indicated prima facie that Dr Jaspal Singh, SMO, had been guilty of not staying and maintaining headquarter at Tibba apart from alleged mismanagement in general and this incident in particular.

The inquiry also revealed that Dr Gurinder Singh and Darshan Singh ward attendant, were absent from duty. Sat Paul, pharmacist, has been found guilty of gross misconduct in misinforming the higher officials about the incident and not cooperating during the inquiry, the Deputy Commissioner said.

Meanwhile, residents of Tibba village staged a dharna and blocked traffic on the Tibba-Sultanpur Lodhi road yesterday in protest against the death of Harbhajan Singh due to the negligence of doctors of the health centre.


Minor abducted, raped
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
A minor girl, resident of this city, was allegedly repeatedly raped by Prabhjot Singh with the help of his mother Ranjit Kaur and sister Rishu, all residents of Jalandhar, after the victim was allegedly kidnapped by them from the Mall road here on February 18.

Official sources said the police authorities which had registered a case of kidnapping against the accused, had now registered a case of rape and cheating under Sections 376 and 420, IPC, after the rape was confirmed after a medical examination conducted at the local Civil Hospital today.

The police sources said Prabhjot Singh met the girl while she was going for tuition and convinced her that he could send her abroad for higher education and subsequent employment.

On February 18, Prabhjot Singh, his sister Rishu and mother Ranjit Kaur met the victim at the Mall Road and asked her to sit in their car. When she refused, she was forcibly taken inside and taken to Ludhiana where she was raped. The next day, Prabhjot Singh married her and took her to Chandigarh by some armed unidentified persons along with Ranjit Kaur and Rishu. She was forced to record a statement in the court at Chandigarh that she had married Prabhjot Singh with her consent.

Later, the victim was taken to Jalandhar and confined to a room. He then began to harass and beat her up asking her to get money from her parents so that she could be sent to the USA. On April 25, the victim managed to contact her parents in Bathinda and narrated the story. Ranjit Kaur came to Bathinda with the victim and left her with her parents.

The police said the victim approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court for registering a fresh case against the accused and the court directed the police to do the same after hearing the writ petition.

The sources added that after an inquiry was conducted by the DSP, a case under Sections 420, 376, 384, 344 and 34, IPC, was registered against the accused.


Six booked in land sale case
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The Vigilance Bureau here has booked a PCS officer and five government employees for their alleged connivance to sell 116 acres of panchayat land in Mohali tehsil despite orders by the Supreme Court staying the sale of the land.

According to Vigilance sources PCS officer Gayatri Devi Jain, and a former Additional Director Consolidation, SAS Nagar, Surinder Pal Singh, Assistant Consolidation Officer, Balwinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar, SAS Nagar, a registry clerk and Sukhbinder Singh, a patwari have been booked for selling 116 acres of panchayat land in Shekhar Majra village in SAS Nagar tehsil.

The sources said that the Vigilance Bureau had ordered an inquiry into the case after receiving a complaint and DSP Vigilance Saroop Singh Mann was appointed the inquiry officer. The inquiry established that the land was sold with the connivance of these persons and the order of the Supreme Court was flouted. The inquiry indicted all these officials. The co-owners of the land Darbara Singh, Ajmer Singh, Bachan Singh, Modan Singh were also held responsible for not obeying the court orders.

The buyers of the land including Surmukh Singh, Karnail Singh and Bhajan Singh have also been booked. A case has been registered.


3 of family die in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 31
Three members of a family were killed in a road accident when the Maruti car they were travelling in collided head on with a bus near Jandiala Guru in Majitha today.

The deceased, hailing from Jandiala Guru, have been identified as Dilbagh Singh and his two sons Harjit Singh and Daljit Singh. They were returning home from Manawala when the bus collided head on with their car while trying to overtake another vehicle. All three died on the spot.

The driver and the conductor of the bus have reportedly been arrested and a case registered.


Bank official’s ISI links unearthed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 31
Gurbax Singh, a bank employee, who was arrested on charges of running a fake currency racket has revealed that he had established links with Pakistan with the help of an ISI agent, Abhi Saloon, who met him in the Amritsar jail.

While Bakshish Singh was earlier arrested on charges of taking a bank loan on the basis of a fake NSC, Saloon was arrested while crossing over to India without possessing passport or visa.

The SP (City), Dr Surinder Kumar Kalia, said both Bakshish Singh and Saloon exchanged addresses and telephone numbers during their stay in the jail. After his release from the jail, Bakshish Singh established contacts with ISI agents on telephone. Bakshish Singh contacted Saif and Maqbool who promised him to send consignment of weapons and fake currency to carry out subversive activities. However, Saif was reportedly arrested in Jammu and Kashmir and the consignment could not reach Punjab.


25 SAD activists booked

Faridkot, May 31
The local police has registered a criminal case against 25 SAD activists and arrested three of them for allegedly assaulting Block Development and Panchayat Officer.

According to police sources, the BDPO Gurmit Singh in his complaint alleged that Sarpanch Surinder Singh along with others came to his office on Wednesday for getting no objection certificates for contesting in zila parishad elections. He alleged that the activists assaulted the official when the later reportedly refused to issue no objection certificates. However, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr A Venu Parshad, denied the allegations of the Akali leaders. He also said that no complaint has been received from anyone against the BDPO. UNI


39 whisky cases seized
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 31
The district Excise and Taxation authorities have seized 39 cases of whisky (468 bottles) from Sandip Singh of Bishanpura village, near SAS Nagar, and Pardeep Rattan of Chandigarh.

Stating this, Mr G.S. Randhawa, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), Ropar, said officers of his department laid a naka at SAS Nagar on the intervening night of May 29 and May 30 and seized 16 cases of whisky from Sandeep Rattan during checking while 23 cases were seized from Pradeep Rattan at the Balongi barrier.

Mr Randhawa said cases had been registered against Sandeep Singh and Pradeep Singh under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act.


Police remand for clerk
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 31
Rajinder Kumar, alias Toka, a clerk in the Sessions Court, who had surrendered in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate a day before was remanded to three-days police custody today.

A case has been registered against Rajinder Kumar and his younger brother Ramesh Kumar on the basis of an inquiry report, conducted by the Vigilance Bureau at the behest of the District and Sessions Judge, for amassing huge moveable and immovable properties disproportionate to their known sources of income. While Rajinder’s brother was arrested a few days after the registration of case by the Vigilance Bureau, Rajinder has remained elusive since February.


Food inspector arrested
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur May 31
The Vigilance Bureau, caught the District Food and Supply Controller (DFSC), Mr Satpal, and his subordinate Inspector, Mr Mahesh Chander, red handed while accepting Rs 30,000, as illegal gratification from Yash Pal Gupta, a brick kiln owner.

The accused had taken the bribe for the renewal of licences of brick kiln of Billa Brick Industry at Bassi Khan. Mr Gupta had complained to the Vigilance Bureau district chief, Mr Ishwar Chander, that officials were forcing him to pay bribe for his work.

Mr Ishwar Chander said the sum was recovered on the spot from the accused in presence of Mr Hari Singh, a resident of Singhpura, Mr Kamal Nain, a PWD SDO and Mr Ratnesh Singh, also an SDO and official witness.


FCI official held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
Raj Kumar Jain, Joint Director, Food Corporation of India (FCI), was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe today.

A case has been registered against him.

The Vigilance authorities remained tight-lipped and refused to divulge the details while confirming the incident.


Revoke case against teachers: PCCTU
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 31
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, condemned the treatment meted out to teachers by the Vigilance Department and urged Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh to withdraw all vigilance cases against the apprehended teachers as giving tuitions did not fall under the anti corruption act. They have also demanded revocation of suspension of teachers by some principals and management of educational institutes.

Dr V.K. Tiwari, general secretary of the union, has stated in the communication that they are against the unethical practice of tuitions in colleges and this can only be tackled with a joint effort wherein the union representatives can also take part with the government policy makers.


Notification on VC’s post
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 31
The Punjab Government has issued a notification asking the members of the search panel constituted by it to recommend a panel of three names for consideration for the post of Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University and submit its report within two months.

The government has sent copies of the notification to former Vice-Chancellor R.P. Bambah, who is also a Turstee of The Tribune, Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh and Dr G.S. Kalkat.

The notification has not given any timetable regarding the holding of the meeting of the panel and the members are likely to decide to the issue themselves.

Authoritative sources said there was confusion regarding Dr Kalkat’s role in the panel. They said Dr Kalkat was abroad and it might be difficult for him to join the panel immediately.

Earlier, there were reports that former VC Amrik Singh might be asked to join the panel, but that seemed to have been quashed for the time being with the government sending out a notification listing Dr Kalkat as one of the members of the panel.

The sources said a decision on the issue was likely in a few days, failing which Dr Bambah and Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh could be entrusted with the responsibility of recommending the names for the panel. They said the panel members had just received the notification and that 20-25 bio datas submitted by various aspirants to the Chief Minister had still not been given to them. However, the bio datas are likely to be forwarded to the members.

The sources said because of groupism choosing a vice-Chancellor from one group ultimately led to victimisation of teachers in the rival group, besides spoiling the academic atmosphere on the campus.

The panel would, however, consider names of person who were committed to the development of Punjabi language, the sources added.


NCP files complaint against PAU Pro-VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
The Punjab Pradesh Nationalist Congress Party has filed a complaint with the Lok Pal, Punjab, alleging the appointment of Dr K.S. Aulakh as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, PAU, Ludhiana has been illegal.

The covering letter to the complaint, which was released to the press by party leaders at a press conference held here yesterday, states, “the post of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor was created in a clandestine manner by some influential persons, which included Mr R.S. Mann, the then Chief Secretary Punjab, Dr G.S. Kalkat, the then Vice-Chancellor, PAU, in connivance with the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The position of the Pro-VC that Dr K.S. Aulakh held for over 16 months caused a sizeable financial burden running into several lakh rupees to the public exchequer.” Addressing the press conference, Dr Balwant Singh of the NCP stated that the present chief minister’s so-called crusade against corruption in the state was politically motivated and should not be limited to those in the opposition alone but also include their own party also.


House tax notice to teachers giving tuitions
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 31
Mr Rakesh Jyoti, President of the local Municipal Committee told reporters here today that the Municipal Committee was issuing notices for the payment of house taxes to the teachers who used various houses for tuition work. He said that some houses being used for tuitions work were used for commercial purpose. The teachers giving tuitions should pay house tax to the Committee.

Mr Jyoti said that details in this regard were being worked out. There are nearly 36 houses in the city here which were being used for tuition work.

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